THERE are those who deride it as a strange brew, a pale imitation of the real thing. Try telling that to Jamie Lindsay and Ross Munro.

In fact, try telling anyone of a Ross County persuasion on Saturday evening that the whole occasion of the Irn-Bru Cup Final lacked fizz or was a meaningless sideshow.

County executed one of the great comebacks of the competition’s 29-year history after falling flat in the first half against the meaty, spirited Welsh Premier League part-timers.

There have been moans over inclusion of home nation clubs and groans about the extended format.

But this was an unforgettable day not just for Connah’s Quay Nomads, but for the Ladbrokes Championship leaders.

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Returning to the Premiership remains Ross County’s all-consuming priority, but co-managers Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson embraced the minor cup with absolute relish. This was a close to full strength County starting 11, with only goalkeeper Scott Fox and winger Josh Mullin – the ultimate matchwinner – left on the bench. Like the management team, Lindsay had spoken enthusiastically about hopes of winning the competition long before the final beckoned.

For the talented midfielder, still less than a year on from his release by Celtic, it was a whole new sensation as he grasped a first senior medal and trophy. Lindsay, loaned previously to Dumbarton, Morton and then County for a year before his permanent move, said: “I won the Youth Cup when I was at Celtic, but this is my first senior cup. It’s a great feeling.

“At half-time, it was a wake-up call. The first half didn’t go great and we lost a bit of a silly goal, but I think we always knew we were the better team.

“We turned it around in the second half, so it was a great day in the end. It’s massive for everyone at the club – the players, staff and the fans as well.

“They had a tough time of it last season, while there are a good few players from here last season who got relegated. It’s good to give something back and it’s a great day for us.

“We can look forward to the rest of the season now. We’ve got eight cup finals to go in the Championship, so we will see what happens.”

County have high hopes for 18-year-old Munro – more than just a token understudy to experienced Fox – who featured in every Irn-Bru Cup round. For the local lad, reared in the youth academy, this was an unforgettable campaign and invaluable immersion in first-team football.

It might have been very different, though, at 1-0 down, when the cub keeper scuffed a clearance attempt straight to Andy Owens only to recover with a fingertip save.

County, in truth, could have been 3-0 down by the break and Munro said: “It was a mistake by me – I’ve tried to pass it to Keith Watson but the boy has nicked it.

“Thankfully, I’ve redeemed myself.

“It feels amazing to win the trophy – I’ve never felt a feeling like it.

“Playing in front of the fans, who were brilliant, was great and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating in front of them.

“We had done our homework on Nomads. They’re a very physical team who put balls into the box and I knew they would challenge me because of my age.

“The boys helped me out a lot – they were strong and physical in return. The gaffers have helped me throughout the whole season, giving me the chance to play in the cups. Hopefully I can repay them with performances.

“This is by far the biggest cup I’ve won. It’s been a great experience for me. I had my mum and dad, their friends, my brother and his son all there. All my friends were watching at home and I had a lot of support. I’m glad I won it for them.”

County, however, had to do it the hard way after a stunning 20-yard strike from Michael Bakare gave the Welsh side the lead after 21 minutes.

Had George Horan not flapped eight yards out in clear sight of goal and skied over the bar, County could have been in serious bother. Munro’s save was another fluffed chance.

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But after 75 minutes, Marcus Fraser threaded Mullin – brought on just nine minutes earlier – into the right side of the box and he thrashed the ball low through the keeper’s legs.

Mullin struck again from the edge of the area a few minutes later after a move involving Kenny van der Weg and Ross Stewart, before Lindsay’s thumping finish wrapped it up.