TRANENT Juniors co-manager Darren Smith was “delighted” to see his side come through a penalty shoot-out to book their place in their second cup semi-final of the season.
The Belters needed a shootout to beat Superleague side Broxburn Athletic in their East of Scotland Cup quarter-final at Foresters Park on Saturday, despite taking a 2-0 lead with half an hour to go.
Kenny Fisher curled the Belters in front on 27 minutes, before Ben Miller’s close-range effort gave the hosts a two-goal cushion.
The West Lothian men fought back to take the game to penalties, but co-manager Smith was thrilled to see his side come out victorious, as Tranent won the shootout 4-1.
Smith, who came on for the final 25 minutes of Saturday’s dramatic last-eight clash, told Courier Sport: “We’re all delighted and it’s great for the club. We certainly didn’t make it easy for ourselves but they are a good side. We knew that when we went 2-0 up they were going to have to come at us, and they did.
“I’ve been getting wound up by some of the boys who’ve been saying I changed the game – we were 2-0 up when I came on but it was 2-2 soon after!
“Credit to the boys, though, they stuck in and we managed to get through on penalties.”
The 36-year-old, who took over alongside Kenny Rafferty following the departure of Gary Small, revealed the management duo had only a few words for their penalty takers.
“We just told them to pick a side and be confident, and we got lucky because they missed a few,” he said.
“We’d done brilliantly to get to the quarter-finals and the players could have gone out with their heads held high, but that’s not what this bunch are about.”
The former Berwick Rangers and Brechin City man has already turned his attentions to Saturday’s semi-final, which sees the Belters visit North Division outfit Dundee North End.
He added: “We went to watch them last night and they are not a bad side. They beat Whitburn [in their quarter-final] and you don’t go to Whitburn and win without being a decent side.
“We’re in an unusual position because we’ll go in as favourites – we need to make sure the boys apply themselves and do their jobs.”
That is not Tranent’s only cup semi-final, though.
On Wednesday, they make the short trip to face Musselburgh Athletic in an East Lothian derby at Olive Bank in the Fife & Lothians Cup.
Smith was part of the Burgh side that reached the 2015 Scottish Junior Cup final and he is looking forward to that clash.
He added: “They are another Superleague team and I know their assistant manager [Kevin McDonald, club captain in 2015] quite well so it will be an interesting game.
“If we can go there and play to our best then there’s no reason we can’t do a job.
“I don’t think Tranent Juniors will have had a better chance to make a cup final. We’ve not had easy draws and we’ve got two big games coming up but we’re playing well and looking forward to them.”