IF Auchinleck Talbot were left to reflect deep into the wee small hours on the romance of the Cup, there would have been a more restless Saturday night from Hamilton Accies.

One suspects there would have been an insufficient amount to drown their sorrows after another ignominy was forced upon them yesterday afternoon, this time at the hands of the junior side who have earned quite the reputation for claiming scalps on their turf.

Aunchinleck settled it just before the hour mark with a goal that almost took the roof off of their small stand as Graham Wilson made Accies pay for their sloppiness at coping with a long throw-in to their box.

Truth was, though, that Stuart Taylor’s side never looked like causing them too many problems. Veteran keeper Andy Leishman produced a trio of stops in quick succession at the start of the second period he used both hands and feet to keep Hamilton at bay. It was, though, the only real moment in the game when he found himself under pressure.

Indeed, from the moment that Wilson found the back of the net there was a feeling that any response Accies could muster would be insignificant.

Their insipidness has been evident all the way through last season and into this one, with the small number of supporters who travelled to Ayrshire not shy at making their feelings known as they remonstrated angrily with the Accies bench.

Still, if it was a sobering afternoon for them it was one of delight for the hosts who were intent on making the most of their prolonged Cup run.

“The players and the fans will have a great weekend celebrating and they deserve it,” enthused manager Tommy Sloan.

“I’m absolutely delighted. Accies had a good start and put us under pressure, but we saw it out and we created some good chances of our own and after that they found us hard to cope with.

“Whenever we got them turned we looked like we could make something happen.

“It was a wee bit edgy at the end with crosses coming in, but the defence grew into it and we got there. It was a tremendous performance, right through the team.

“People are already asking me if this is better or bigger than when we beat Ayr United, but right now I don’t care - all that matters is that we won.

“The goal was a classic, a great throw-in. A touch on and a really good finish. The place went mad and we were jumping for joy in the bench.”
Stuart Taylor not has the job of trying to rouse himself and the players for the week that lies ahead.

With a quarter-final against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Challenge Cup on Tuesday and Dunfermline in the league on Saturday he has called upon his players to show that they have the mentality to cope with the pressure they are clearly feeling.

“I understand the anger and frustration of the fans,” he said. “I feel the same. We go over to the fans win, lose or draw because we always appreciate them coming out. I am frustrated and angry. I have all those emotions too but I need to pick them up for Tuesday night.

“You want the next game so that you can win it and move on. It is about character and mental strength.

“That isn’t for me to answer [if the players have that] but we will see on Tuesday.

“The performance yesterday was not good enough. We had chances in the first-half to go and implement our work and put our stamp in the game but we didn’t do that. The longer these games go on the harder they become and the more you leave yourself open.”