TRANSITION from a footballing perspective, that process of moving from one era to another while continuing to flourish as a contender for the major silverware prizes, has proven to be a bridge too far for clubs at this level.

One can just about hear the cries of “What about Auchinleck Talbot?” emanating from deepest Ayrshire and there is no denying the appreciation felt for  the seemingly never to be emulated run of success kickstarted  by the 1977 arrival on the Junior scene of exalted team boss Willie Knox and carried on (to even greater effect) by current Beechwood Park gaffer Tommy Sloan.

But long in the tooth Bot supporters can recall, if they’re so minded, the many lean years that preceded Knoxy and the same goes for the significantly more elderly among fans of Cambuslang Rangers, seeking to remind us that recognition is also deserved for the once  heralded feats of the Davie McLaggen steered side of the 1960’s and early 1970’s.

It follows that the fullness of time will inevitably bring a fall from grace for Talbot though it must be said that  the Ayrshire club’s capacity to renew, refresh and reinvent itself in order to overcome all the challenges put before it is showing no signs whatsoever of letting up.

Their string of triumphs has been nothing short of phenomenal and contrasts starkly with the fortunes of those formerly renowned Glasgow giants St Anthony's and Ashfield, back taking centre-stage again today with a Macron  Scottish Junior Cup second round head to head at McKenna Park..

The 119 year old Govan hosts have never actually won the game’s Holy Grail but did hit the crossbar twice, defeated 1-0 by Rutherglen Glencairn in a 1919 replayed Final and six years later again losing at the second time of asking, by  a 2-1 scoreline against Saltcoats Vics.

Ashfield can lay claim to a considerably better record in the game’s No 1 competition, having made six Final appearances in all ,agonizingly finishing as runners-up on two occasions that came after four trophy wins  prior to the First World War , the last of which was a 1910 besting of Kilwinning Rangers by a 3-0 scoreline.

There’s no disputing the halcyon years of both clubs are a long way behind them yet that in itself doesn’t prevent pipe-dream yearnings for a phoenix like return to former glories even if the miracle nowadays is that the once famed city pair are still standing.

St Anthony's current team boss, former player Danny Taylor, is steeped in his club’s history but is nothing if not a realist and readily acknowledges the accolade of Scottish Junior Cup winners that so narrowly escaped the Ants in their heyday does not go with the territory nowadays.

Despite having lost  none of his competitive edge, he owned up: “Much as I’d love it to happen we are not going to win the Scottish however, a decent Cup run is certainly not beyond us given a bit of  luck in the draw.

“I only ask of the guys to try their best and when that has happened this season they have beaten pretty decent sides like Neilston and Glasgow Perthshire so I’m confident Ashfield will know they’ve been in a game if we turn up on the day.

“That said, you need to be able to laugh as manager of this team otherwise you’ll cry because I’m here talking the players up yet last Saturday’s 6-1 defeat by Yoker Athletic was by far the worst performance served up since I took on the role of manager.

“We were abysmal and to say it wasn’t the best warm-up for a big Scottish Junior Cup tie is putting it lightly.”

Nineteen-year old newcomer Rui Carbello has emerged as one of the Ants stand-outs on their better days playing in midfield alongside the impressive pairing of Warin Omar and Njabulo Ndlovu .

Taylor added: "My mentors in the game, the likes of Dennis Curran, James McKenna and Willie Harvey, were forever stressing the need for midfielders to weigh in with their share of goals and we are fortunate to have this  in abundance with Rui, Warin and Big Jabs.

“And up front Bembo (Evariste Bembo) knows how to put himself about in the penalty box as Ashfield know only too well after he  scored in a 3-2 pre-season friendly win against them.

“Both teams are much changed from back then so you cannot read too much into the result however I’m hopeful the same goals threat can tilt the balance in our favour.”

The Scottish Cup was never particularly kind to Taylor during his playing career , a 4th round replay defeat in 1994  by eventual trophy winners Largs Thistle as good as it gets,  while fellow striker and Ashfield counterpart Paul Maxwell has even more of a hard luck tale to relate  from playing in the Irvine Meadow side beaten in the 2014 semi-finals by the soon-to-be triumphant Hurlford United.

Last night, the Possilpark men’s gaffer recalled: ”Coming so near only to falter at such a late stage was indeed a sore one to take but so too was the shock defeat suffered by the Ashfield side of a few years earlier that had hitherto been going great guns under Stevie Rankin.

“Confidence in our camp was sky high and we really fancied our Scottish chances but came unstuck in losing out 3-2  at home’ve guessed it…an apparently struggling Anthonys …whose two no-nonsense  centrebacks Abu Mansare and the late Mark Ritchie kicked lumps out of me and I still have the bruises to prove it.

“If ever there was a game that typifies the David v Goliath upsets regularly thrown up in the Scottish Cup year in and year out then that was it and I’ll make a point of reminding my players before they take the field tomorrow.

“The form book says Ashfield should win but Danny has carried out a terrific rebuilding job and chalked up some very positive results since taking up the Ants’ reins so we cannot afford to be complacent.

Maxi has suffered a double whammy selection blow going into the tie after news of Brad Rhodden ‘s absence with a suspected broken arm came hard on the heels of Ryan McManus, scorer of a hat trick in each of Ashfield’s last two games, declaring himself unavailable through work commitments.

Their gaffer admitted: “It’s a huge loss to be without Ryan in his current form  while  Brad is every bit as much a huge loss because of what he brings so much ro the team in terms of workrate .

“Fortunately we have Ben Dailly back fit again who was scoring for fun earlier in the season before going off the boil and the game against the Ants presents he perfect opportunity for him to find his touch again.”

Reigning holders Auchinleck should have little difficulty negotiating a trip through to face Carluke Rovers which gaffer Tommy Sloan might use to afford fit again striker Graham Wilson some match practice while the pick of the other ties has Kilsyth Rangers hosting the visit of an improved Arthurlie and Renfrew preparing to host the visit of Craigmark.

PLAYING TODAY: Kick Offs 2PM unless stated): Scottish Junior Cup.Second Round.( 1.45PM): Culter v Beith, Girvan v Yoker Athletic, Blairgowrie v Benburb, Dundee North End v Colony Park, Irvine Vics v Pollok Newmains Utd v Vale of Leven, Petershill v Stoneywood  Parkvale, Blantyre Vics v West Calder Utd, Ardrossan Winton Rovers v Maryhill, Aberdeen University v  Lochee Utd, Largs Thistle v Larkhall Thistle, Carnoustie Panmure v Fraserburgh Utd, ,Banks O’Dee v Sygenta,  Glentannar  v Rob Roy, Letham F.C.v Muirkirk, Carluke Rovers v Auchinleck Talbot, St Anthonys v Ashfield, Renfrew v Craigmark, Glasgow Perthshire v Scone Thistle, Brechin  Vics v Newmachar Utd ,Irvine Meadow v Arbroath Vics, Livingston Utd v Cumbernauld Utd, Kilsyth Rangers v Arthurlie, Dundee St James v Johnstone Burgh, Brechin  Vics v Newmachar Utd, Armadale Thistle v Dyce, Dundee East Craigie v Banchory St Tiernans, Thorniewood Utd v Whitletts Vics, Lanark Utd v East Kilbride Thistle,  Gartcairn  v Tayport.

P.D.M. Buildbase Premier League: Troon v Hurlford Utd, Darvel  v Kilbirnie Ladeside, Rutherglen Glencairn v Clydebank.

PDM Buildbase Conference League A: Shotts Bon Accord v  Maybole, Glasgow University v Forth Wanderers,  Lugar Boswell v Saltcoats Vics.

PDM Buildbase Conference League B: Kello Rovers v Greenock, Dalry Thistle v Ardeer Thistle.PDM Buildbase Conference League C.Wishaw v St Rochs.

PDM Buildbase Division Four: Finnart v Kilsyth Athletic. Scottish Cup.First Round Replay(3PM). Cumnock v Formartine Utd