HOMETOWN hero Shaun Hill believes that Haddington Athletic can spring a surprise in the next round of the Scottish Cup after a dramatic victory on Saturday.

The Hi Hi triumphed over Deveronvale in a penalty shootout in front of more than 500 fans at Millfield to set up a contest with Brechin City.

Haddington and Deveronvale had drawn 2-2 in Aberdeenshire, with the scores locked together at 1-1 in the replay.

It all came down to spot kicks, with Hill one of five Haddington players keeping their cool, while Dale Cornet made a crucial save to settle the tie 5-3 on penalties.

Hill said: “I can’t even describe what it meant.

“My mum and dad, my brother, more of my family, nephews and two sons were all there.

“It is mental – anything can happen in football but playing teams above you and you don’t expect to win.

“You are playing with a freedom and it matters if you win but nobody is expecting you to beat a team from two tiers above.

“You should have seen the changing room after the game!”

East Lothian Courier: Haddington Athletic celebrate penalty shootout victory over Deveronvale. Image: Garry MenziesHaddington Athletic celebrate penalty shootout victory over Deveronvale. Image: Garry Menzies

Hill, 29, was the third Haddington player to step up and fire home from 12 yards.

He told Courier Sport his mindset was quite simple as he approached the crucial kick.

“Just don’t miss,” he said.

“I’m pretty confident and it is a free shot at goal from there.

“I have missed them before but, even if I miss one next week, I will want to take that next one and help the team.”

Hill, who now lives in Bilston in Midlothian, is among those to have made the transition from Junior football to the senior game with Haddington.

He praised the behind-the-scenes work of the committee in helping push the club forward, with the Scottish Football Association (SFA) licence in place to allow the club to play in the cup and climb the footballing pyramid.

Hill, who grew up on the town’s Briery Bank, has spent five years at Millfield and has been a key part of Joe Hamill and now Scott Bonar’s team.

He felt that the right team had progressed to the second round of the tournament, with a tie against former Scottish Professional Football League side Brechin awaiting next month.

East Lothian Courier: Dale Cornet makes the winning save for Haddington Athletic in the penalty shootout against Deveronvale. Image: Garry MenziesDale Cornet makes the winning save for Haddington Athletic in the penalty shootout against Deveronvale. Image: Garry Menzies

Hill said: “It is the same as the Deveronvale game – nobody is expecting us to get a result. It takes that pressure off you.

“Obviously, I want to win every game I play in but that does not happen in football.

“They might underestimate us, anybody can beat anybody on their day.

“We have nothing to be scared of and we have beaten two teams from the leagues above in the Scottish Cup [Deveronvale this season and Lowland League side BSC Glasgow last season].

“I thought we were unlucky to lose to Formartine in the second round last year as well.

“We can match them and anything can happen in football.”

Before the cup clash, attention will turn to the East of Scotland Football League and what is shaping up to be a tight battle for the First Division Conference A title.

Haddington sit second by a mere four goals, level on points with league leaders Leith Athletic, while Kennoway Star Hearts are also level on 25 points but have played a game more than the top two.

Leith and Haddington had been due to face off over the weekend but the cup game took priority.

Former Knox Academy pupil Hill was looking forward to an exciting few months ahead.

He said: “Being one of the older ones, the main aim is to get promoted.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win any league, you can go five games getting beat, but we are definitely going to be title contenders.”