HERO DECO DELIVERS THE TITLE
Kilm art in’ s‘ magical’ last-g asp penalty seals deal
Cambuslang Rangers striker Thomas ‘Deco’ Kilmartin revealed he thought his team had blown their chance of winning the league before he blasted home an injury-time penalty to secure the title.
The 31-year-old goalscorer was the hero as his 95thminute winner crowned The Lang champions of the Central District First Division with the last kick of the ball at Neilston. Kilmartin led the team out at the Brig O’Lea Stadium on Saturday as captain knowing three points would guarantee them top spot due to their superior goal difference over Larkhall Thistle.
But despite leading 3-1 in the second half, a nervy collapse saw the hosts pull the game back to 3-3 on the hour mark.
Strike partner John Gemmell thought he had won the game for The Wee Gers with just minutes remaining, only for his goal to be chalked off for a foul and the tall hitman was sent off for his protests.
However, like so many late fightbacks already this season, Cambuslang found the net thanks to the boot of Kilmartin, who admitted he thought their moment in the sun had gone up in smoke.
“It was a magical moment to finish a magical season,” he told the Reformer.
“Everyone was singing on the bus home but I wasn’t doing much singing to be honest. Everything was a bit of a blur and I just sat there trying to take it all in.
“We scored with a few minutes to go but the referee ruled it out. John headed it in but the ref says he pushed the boy in the box. He’s then been sent off for arguing.
“Then all I can remember is saying to the ref how long we had to go and he said, ‘you’ve had two minutes of your five added on’. That’s when I thought we had blown it.
“We then got the penalty and I picked the ball up because I knew I would have been gutted if I had watched someone else miss it.
“Everyone has been asking me what was going through my head and if I was nervous. All I can say is there was definitely nerves going into it but I didn’t really think about what it would mean if I missed.
“They [Neilston] were trying to put me off, one guy raked his studs across the penalty spot and another put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘good luck Deco’.
“But I knew as soon as it left my boot it was in and there was a little tear in my eye because I knew at that moment we had won it.”
Cambuslang led the division
for the majority of the season and are the highest goalscorers in the West region with 94.
Kilmartin, who bagged 18 in this campaign and has spent more than seven seasons at The Lang, insisted that his side deserved to be champions and can’t wait to be in the Super First Division next season.
The ex-Glencairn star, said: “In my opinion we have been the best team in the league. We lost a couple of big games where we just didn’t turn up.
“We lost twice against St. Roch’s. I wouldn’t have said they were better than us but they knew how to frustrate us and I think their experience bullied us a little bit.
“But all the other teams I feel we did really well against.
“Cambuslang is a massive club and they’ve been under achieving for too long.
“They deserve to be in the Super Leagues.”
Champions Cambuslang Rangers are crowned winners of the Central District First Division thanks to a late winner from Thomas Kilmarton (below inset)