Beith Juniors Football Club this year re-enter the known world of the Stagecoach West of Scotland Super League Division One. Promoted to the Premier by finishing second in 2006-07 after playing at that level from 2002, the Garnock Valley team know the division only too well.
How did they get back there? Well after promotion they finished 5th in the Premier and the Assistant Manager John Millar was promoted to Manager.
Next season and they finished 3rd in the league, missing out on the title by six points and won the New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup in 2009 beating Auchinleck Talbot in the final.
“The Mighty” surpassed that the following season by strolling to the Championship with a record points total and only one league defeat during the season, albeit a controversial one.
That meant in season 2010-11 Beith Juniors qualified for the Scottish Cup proper and they beat reigning Scottish Junior Cup holders Linlithgow Rose at Bellsdale, 2-0 with large press coverage from the Daily Record and coverage from the BBC including the erstwhile Jim Spence.
In the second round they scored most goals that round with an 8-1 victory over Glasgow University, considering I was responsible for the national score update service it meant I was very busy indeed!
The third round saw Beith Juniors play Second Division Airdrie Utd and indeed took a two goal lead courtesy of Brian “Sniffer” McKeown and Kenny McLean with several other chances going begging. Ten minutes to go and Beith got Marc McShane sent off for an attempted challenge on Paul Lovering (son of ex Beith Manager Frank Lovering). No contact was made and seething Beith fans felt more aggrieved when Lovering headed home from a free kick. The pressure was now on and unfortunately in injury time a wildly deflected free kick saw Airdrie Utd claim a replay.
With the very bad winter, Beith went 5 weeks without a game while Airdrie played on and the postponements even saw a possible foreign referee assigned at one stage whilst the Scottish Officials strike was taking place. When the game did take place, Beith failed to start and were 4-0 after 50 minutes in the game. 3 quick substitutions took place by John Millar and Tony Fraser, Stephen O’Keane and John Craig all repaid the manager with a goal a piece. Minutes remaining and Beith were denied a penalty and a breakaway by Airdrie saw captain McKeown feel he had no option but to bring the player down and was promptly red carded but Airdrie held out and the score stayed at 4-3 to Airdrie in front of a 2,000 crowd at Bellsdale.
The season mostly petered out after that and Manager John Millar resigned prior to the last game of the season.
Stevie Easton was put in charge and got Beith to a 5th place finish in the following year. No major additions to the squad the following summer put paid to his plans and a very lacklustre Beith parted company with the Manager in November 2012. Frank Lynch, the manager who got Promotion back in 2007 was appointed Manager once more and for a short time revitalised the fortunes of the club and got them to a fighting chance of staying in the Premier. Frank then resigned for personal reasons and once more John Millar was named Beith Juniors Manager.
A series of excellent results saw Beith eventually needing two points from the last two games to ensure survival, unfortunately that wasn’t to come to be and Beith were relegated after a midweek game away to bottom placed Shotts saw them defeated 2-1.
Now it is the close season and the manager has released a number of players and so far has brought in ex Partick Thistle winger Andy Gibson, prized midfielder Paul Frize, youth centre half David Donnelly and seasoned junior right wing back Zander Ryan with promises of more to come in the forthcoming season’s promotion push.
© 2014 Beith Juniors – Updated March 2014
Website: Brent Norris
Website dedicated to the late Nicol Mitchell former committee member and the late Thomas McAdam Snr former vice president.