TO life’s two certainties about taxes and death can now be added a third – Auchinleck Talbot get to the Macron Scottish Junior Cup Final.

The Ayrshiremen will yet again be contesting the destiny of the famous old silverware when they take on Largs Thistle in this season’s showpiece on Sunday June 2.

It will be, quite astonishingly, Talbot’s ninth final appearance in the 16 years under gaffer Tommy Sloan’s watch.

This latest of last-four successes will not be remembered for much, a wonderfully struck opening goal from Stevie Wilson perhaps, because truth is last weekend’s 4-1 first-leg win had all but rendered the Beechwood Park clash a formality.

And that’s exactly how matters panned out even though the visitors gave early promise of making a game of it as they dominated territorially and were the busier of the two sides in the game’s opening exchanges.

Ultimately, they delivered precious little in the way of a genuine goalscoring threat and the 15th minute was reached without either goalkeeper being called into action. However, the humdrum was to be ended just a couple of minutes later by a fabulous Wilson strike – albeit one steeped in controversy.

Keir Sampson strayed offside in a Talbot attack as assistant referee George King raised his flag, but he put it back down again as a desperate Lochee clearance fell to midfielder Wilson some 25 yards out and he despatched a sublime lob shot high beyond the outstretched reach of goalkeeper Jordan Miller.

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A posse of Lochee players, gathered behind the imposing presence of ex-Dundee United stopper Gary Kenneth, beset whistler Chris Graham with their furious protests but he was having none of it and awarded the goal without even consulting his assistant.

Despite admitting his players had stopped before hearing the whistle, visiting boss George Shields was furious. He said: "The referee has said the Auchinleck player did not interfere with the goal being scored but the flag going up has caused our players to switch off thinking a free-kick had been awarded and not close down the space afforded to the lad Wilson.

“Coming down here we felt the first goal was always going to be decisive so to lose it in those circumstances was a kick in the teeth and the game was as good as over from that point even if I was proud of the way our players battled their corner and never gave up the cause.

“We’ve made a few changes to our team this season and genuinely felt we were better suited for taking Auchinleck on this time, but I have to say they were very impressive over the two games.”

Buoyed by their breakthrough goal, Talbot went for the jugular and Jamie Glasgow and Graham Wilson both missed clear cut chances before the home team’s lead was doubled approaching half time thanks in no small part to Referee Graham’s applying of the advantage rule following a crude foul on Glasgow.

Glasgow Times:

He waved play on as the ball broke kindly for marauding full-back Gordon Pope whose driven cross from almost on the touchline picked out the other Wilson brother, Graham, and he turned the ball home for 2-0.

Glasgow Times:

With the tie won, Auchinleck were teetering on the edge of posting an emphatic scoreline over the ensuing 45 minutes however they were not to add to their goals tally despite creating a number of opportunities and despite the best efforts of attacking substitutes Sean McIlroy and Calvin Kemp.

Lochee did not have enough punch to trouble the Ayrshiremen who huffed and puffed for the most part but proceeded to see out the second period in relative comfort.

Delighted Bot boss Sloan admitted: "We’ve created quite a few chances out there today, scored a couple, and big Andy Leishman has had little to do, so what is there to be unhappy about?

"I thought we played things too open early on and that allowed Lochee to be on the ball but Stevie scoring a great individual first goal settled us and I felt we were worthy winners all things considered.

“Largs getting to the Final is indicative of the great job being done by Arnie but I’m sure you appreciate that we will be putting all thoughts of them to the back burner.”

The Seasiders defied the odds to clinch their first final spot since 2010 with a 2-1 Blair Park victory over last season’s beaten finalists Hurlford United for a 4-3 aggregate win.

They took the lead from the penalty spot in 27 minutes after Graham Muir was felled by a despairing challenge and Scott Adam put away the resulting award for 1-0 however the lead was cancelled out in the run-up to half time when slack marking allowed United skipper David Barron to stoop and head home at a corner kick.

Both teams had their near things after the break but a 71st minute handball offence by a Hurlford defender led to yet another Largs spot kick , taken this time by Mark Miller and fired home with some aplomb, to clinch a memorable victory.