STAND-IN boss Brian Johnston has challenged Tranent Juniors to perform for 90 minutes and end the season with cup glory.

The Belters secured their place in the final of the King Cup following a nervy penalty shootout victory but they had to come from 2-0 down to beat Crossgates Primrose last Friday evening.

Bonnyrigg Rose beat Linlithgow Rose in the other semi-final on Wednesday, with the final to be played on Saturday at Prestonfield, Linlithgow.

Johnston said: “Bonnyrigg beat us twice in the league, so we are going in as second favourites.

“But if we can apply ourselves and hit the heights we have hit then we will give anybody a game.

“If they work from 0-90 minutes, rather than 46-90 minutes, we will be confident.”

The Belters are no strangers to cup finals in recent years.

A strike from Kenny Fisher ended a near-40-year run without a cup when they defeated Broxburn Athletic to lift the Fife and Lothians Cup in 2017.

Then, within a matter of days, they were toasting success in the East of Scotland Cup when they defeated Bonnyrigg Rose on penalties.

Now they are hunting for trophy number three.

Johnston said they had enjoyed a tricky run to the final game of the East of Scotland Football League season.

He said: “The club has been in four cup finals in the last three years.

“That shows you where the club is going.

“We want to be out there competing for trophies every season.

“We have beaten the best teams in the three divisions to get here.

“Broxburn won their league and we put them away, Newtongrange Star finished fourth in their league and Hill of Beath finished second.

“We have not had an easy run of games.”

Johnston, who took charge of Tranent last Friday as manager Calvin Shand was abroad on holiday, was delighted to reach the final but felt his team did not make it easy for themselves.

Shand will be back for the cup final, with Johnston hoping that his return will give the team a boost.

Speaking about last Friday’s win, he said: “We made it difficult for ourselves being 2-0 down and probably got a soft penalty before half-time, which gave us belief.

“The second half, we dominated the play.

“We had the majority of the game, they had two shots at goal and they scored twice but that is football.”

Johnston described Tranent’s first goal, a penalty scored by Grant Nelson, as “colossal” in terms of the game’s momentum.

Tranent were much improved after the break and pulled level through Jamie Devlin but they could not find a third goal.

The interim manager said there were a few choice words in the dressing room at half-time which had the desired impact.

He said: “Basically, we have been doing that in games where we have not been performing for 90 minutes.

“It was the same against Newtongrange – the game is 90 minutes, not 45. We cannot just turn up when the chips are down. We need to make it easier for ourselves but it seems to be the Tranent way to do it the hard way.”

The game went to penalties, with the first 11 all finding the net.

However, Sinclair Inglis, who saved a spot kick against Newtongrange Star in the previous round, was once again the hero and pushed the ball to safety.

Johnston said: “When he pulls on that Tranent shirt, he becomes a different player!”