Tuesday 20th February 2018

ANDY DOWIE already has 35 reasons to look forward to the weekend of March 24/25.

But as he reaches another milestone in life, there’s just one present he wants.

It has to be wrapped in black and gold ribbons. It has to be the Irn Bru Cup.

The Dumbarton skipper turns 35 on Sunday, March 25, and hopes that won’t be the only celebration of that weekend.

If Sons beat Inverness CT in the final on Saturday, March 24, it will be the second time he has won the trophy, having scored in the 2006 showpiece for Ross County. That game ended 1-1 against Clyde before the Dingwall side won on penalties.

However, thoughts of all celebrations, personal or football, are on hold for now, as Dumbarton begin a vital run of league matches tonight (Tuesday) against Morton.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Andy said: “That would be fantastic for me personally, lifting the trophy on the same weekend as my birthday.

“But it would also be fantastic for the club. I’ve won it before with Ross County in 2006 but unfortunately I lost two years later (to Airdrie, again on penalties).

“We’ll go into the game as big underdogs, but being captain would add a bit more to it.

“I know I’m coming to the end of my career and it’s very unlikely I’ll be in a final again.

“I’m treating it as my last chance.

“Those two finals have been in a career that has spanned 14 years. They don’t come around very often and if I’ve to wait that long again, I’ll be into my 40s and retired.

“If it was to come along again I’d be over the moon, but realistically it’s unlikely.

“I think Saturday’s events (in the semi-final win over The New Saints) have now sunk in.

“It might sound boring, but we have to forget about it for now.

“We now turn our attentions to league matters and we have three or four big games coming up, starting tonight.

“The cup final definitely won’t be a distraction. We’re completely focused on Morton now. They beat us very comfortably 10 days ago but we’ve given them a good game in the league meetings.

“We’ve got three or four guys coming into the team who couldn’t play on Saturday and they will be fresh, so hopefully they can make a difference.”

Even after going a goal behind on Saturday, Andy and his team-mates kept their spirits high and were rewarded with two outstanding goals by Danny Handling and Dimitris Froxylias to win it.

It is that spirit they will need in the games to come – which after tonight, will continue with a vital trip to Falkirk on Saturday.

Andy added: “TNS are a very good footballing side. If you were watching the game I imagine they were quite easy on the eye.

“But only in the last five or 10 minutes, after we went a goal up, did Scott Gallacher have any saves to make, although they did hit the bar early doors.

“It was two superb goals which ended up winning it for us.

“Falkirk on Saturday is massive. They’ve picked up while we’ve had games called off, which haven’t helped us. If we can get something tonight that will be massive to go on to face Falkirk.

“We know it’s going to be tough, but our manager has recruited well. He’s got Andy Stirling to come in, and boys on loan from Rangers. Our squad is stronger than it was a few weeks ago.

“It’s been frustrating to have games called off for weather issues, especially Brechin recently, as we all thought that game would go ahead.

“It’s going to be a hectic end to the season but we’re looking forward to it.”

Andy Galloway

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