Bo'ness Athletic pay the penalty against ten man Heriot-Watt University

Bo’ness Athletic boss Willie Irvine admitted his side looked ‘quiet on and off the pitch’ on Saturday, and that the chaos and controversy of mid-week created a strange atmosphere within Newtown Park as they crashed out of the King Cup at the semi-final stage.

By Ben Kearney
Sunday, 15th May 2022, 2:14 am

East of Scotland Football League first division conference B side Heriot-Watt prevailed on penalties after a goalless draw, despite being reduced to ten men for extra-time.

Banji Koya’s side now have a cup final to look forward to in the coming weeks, while Athletic will now have the sole focus on winning promotion from conference X.

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Bo'ness goalkeeper Fraser Currid couldn't keep out any of the Heriot-Watt penalties

Speaking to the Herald, Irvine said of the odd-undertone to the tie: “Psychologically it really just didn't feel right from the get-go and the players looked sapped of any energy.

"It played a huge part and the manner of what happened the other night really has got to them, and to me. It is something we couldn’t do anything about and they didn’t do anything wrong.

"They outplayed Syngenta on Wednesday night and should have won the match, but the unsportsmanlike nature of what occurred is something that will take a long time to get over mentally.

"We have a young squad and I don’t even know how to explain it to be honest. The whole place felt quiet and the players didn’t say much before the game.

Tiwi Daramola went closest for Bo'ness with a shot that crashed off the bar

"Some of the guys have been saying they don’t know why it would be worth playing football anymore, and I totally get that.

"Why bother? I understood how today ended up the way it did, it was a difficult day for the football club.”

The away side dominated early on and should have scored with a number of guilt-edged chances being passed up but they faded out of the tie as it went on.

55-goal hitman Tiwi Daramola was Athletic’s only real threat and he was unlucky on a number of occasions, including smashing the bar in the final minute of ninety.

Bo'ness manager Willie Irvine felt his side were quiet on and off the pitch

Grant Rose and captain Jason McKay also went close for the hosts, but the university outfit were worthy of their penalty success on the day.

“We had so many people injured, and for the guys we had out on the pitch, it was like the walking-wounded for most of them,” Irvine added.

“They struggled a little bit to be honest but they stayed on and put in a shift.

“We had a few players come off too and they just looked drained. It was a tough one to watch from the sidelines as you could see the energy was just gone.”

Captain Jason McKay drives forward with the ball

Bo’ness now travel to Armadale in the league on Friday night as they look to sneak back into the top two.

They sit two points behind the Dyes and Whitburn in third after that controversial draw in mid-week.

"As long as it’s fair we don’t care, it will be a tough game but every match at the end of the season is tough,” Irvine said.

"We could win these two matches and not get promoted so it is a difficult place to be in now after what happened.”

Heriot-Watt's players celebrate reaching the King Cup final after prevailing on penalties