Glenafton Athletic left-back Alan Cairns won’t need to buy a drink in New Cumnock ever again after his stunning strike settled the all-Ayrshire Junior Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot, earning his side the trophy for just the second time in their history and sealing a league and cup double for Craig McEwan’s men.

With the scores locked at a goal apiece and with the clock ticking down towards extra time, Cairns produced something from the very top drawer. And for all that junior football is derided for its occasional preference for the ugly side of the game, it was a goal of breathtaking beauty that was the difference.

“I was going to play it wide, but I thought ‘have a go’,” said a jubilant Cairns as a sea of red and white surrounded him on the Rugby Park pitch.

“They always say it to me in training but I think that’s the first time I’ve done it. I rarely shoot and I’ve not scored in four years.

“They say I’ve got a good left foot, so maybe I’ll start doing it more often after that. It might have been a bobble! It’ll be good to watch back. I didn’t even see it going in, I didn’t know what to do.”

The moment was all the sweeter for Cairns after he experienced the pain of defeat in the final as Glenafton went down to Hurlford in this same stadium in 2014, but this time, the celebratory drinks will be flowing back at Loch Park.

“I know what it feels like to lose this final and I didn’t want to go through that again,” he said. “The character in the dressing room is great. We were down 1-0 and the boys were brilliant coming back like that. We deserve it and the fans do too, they’ve been brilliant all season.

“The gaffer set out a target to go and win the league, and then the cup was a bonus. To go and win it is brilliant for the fans and the community.

“When you go through New Cumnock, it’s red and white everywhere. I hope I’ll not need buy a drink tonight! We had a free bar when we won the league so it should be the same tonight.

“I’m a lubricant engineer and my gaffer is in the team, Mick McCann, so I’ve put a holiday in for tomorrow and he can’t say no now. I’ll be going up to New Cumnock to enjoy it tonight.”

Rugby Park was bathed in sunshine for the occasion, as the Junior Cup final always seems to be, but there wasn’t much in the way of warm feeling between the sides as they came out snapping into tackles, and even less so among the fans who just about filled opposite stands across the length of the pitch.

Kilmarnock’s home ground hasn’t exactly been renowned for its raucous atmosphere in recent times when the country’s premier senior sides are playing here, but two top Ayrshire junior teams slugging it out for the famous old trophy just a few miles from their doorsteps was always going to ensure an edge to proceedings.

In the fifth minute though, both sets of supporters rose to acclaim the memory of a man synonymous with the Talbot sides of the late 80s and early 90s, Sam McCulloch, who passed away in February aged just 57 after a long battle with dementia. McCulloch also had a brief spell with Glenafton, and it was a nice touch as hostilities were put on hold momentarily at least.

On the field, putting it politely, both sides seemed to be feeling their way into the encounter, with only a Cammy Marlow shot over the top from the edge of the box for Glenafton to show for the opening quarter of an hour.

A mix-up in the Afton midfield though then brought the opener for Talbot, as Stephen Wilson latched onto a loose ball and drove at the heart of the penalty box. He delayed his pass until the opportune moment, allowing him to poke it perfectly into the path of Keir Milliken to slide under Brian McGarrity and send the yellow and black hordes wild.

They should have doubled their lead moments later, as a teasing cross from Bryan Young just needed a glance over the advanced McGarrity, but Dwayne Hislop got his header all wrong and Glenafton could breathe again.

And they breathed new life into the game just before the half hour as they restored parity. Daniel Orsi did well to bundle his way through two challenges on the right before lifting his head and floating a ball to the back post, where Marlow was arriving to steer a side-foot volley past Andrew Leishman.

The second half started as scrappily as the first, which was neatly exemplified when a poor clearance from Afton keeper McGarrity presented a glorious opportunity to Talbot striker Wilson, but he dallied on the ball before eventually lifting it well over under pressure.

The only other peculiarity of note was that it took until well into the second period for the first booking of the afternoon to be shown, with Ryan McChesney the recipient for Glenafton after a spot of handbags in the midfield.

That was until 15 minutes before the end, as Cairns lit up the final with a quite astonishing goal, fit to win any contest. Picking the ball up on the left flank, the full-back advanced before unleashing a rocket from 25 yards that arrowed into the opposite top corner past the despairing and ultimately futile dive of Leishman.

The celebrations at the end after Glenafton held on comfortably for the victory suggested that Cairns will not be the only one with a sore head in New Cumnock this morning. And presumably there will be some in Auchinleck too, as the 11-time winners retreat to drown their sorrows.

AUCHINLECK TALBOT: Leishman; Harvey, White, McGoldrick, Lyle; Hyslop, S Wilson, McCracken, Young; Milliken, G Wilson.

Scorers: Milliken

GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: McGarrity; Mcausland, Menzies, McChesney, Cairns; Orsi, Park, Marlow, McGill (Lynass, 74’); McCann (Andrew, 69’) Dallas (Carter, 81’).

Scorers: Marlow, Cairns

Booked: McChesney

Referee: David Dickinson

Attendance: 6144