East Kilbride cup hero Jack Smith follows in dad’s footsteps

East Kilbride's Jack Smith celebrates his Scottish Cup success alongside his dad Andy, twice a Scottish Cup finalist with Airdrie. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
East Kilbride's Jack Smith celebrates his Scottish Cup success alongside his dad Andy, twice a Scottish Cup finalist with Airdrie. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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Jack Smith wasn’t even born when his father Andy played and scored in his first Scottish Cup final appearance for Airdrie against Rangers in 1992.

When Smith senior collected a second runners-up medal as Airdrie lost 1-0 to Celtic at Hampden three years later, Jack was just six months old.

But as the 21-year-old East Kilbride striker prepares for his own date with Scottish Cup destiny against Celtic, he is acutely aware of his old man’s history in the tournament.

“Every Saturday night when he’s had a couple of beers he digs out the YouTube clips to show me,” said Smith.

“He did alright as a player and scored a few goals. He never stops going on about his goal against Rangers at Hampden – although, having seen it so many times now, I have to tell him there was a wee deflection on it!”

There was nothing fortunate about Smith’s sweet strike at K-Park on Wednesday night which set East Kilbride on their way to a 2-0 victory over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale. It secured the fledgling Lowland League club a dream fifth round tie against the Scottish champions which they will host at New Douglas Park on 7 February in front of a live BBC Scotland television audience.

Smith, who began his career at St Mirren and had spells at East Fife, Morton and Arbroath before joining East Kilbride last summer, has scored 28 goals so far this season. He retains ambitions to play at a higher level but is content to relish the EK adventure for now.

“Our manager Billy Ogilvie has told us we could be in the shop window but I think all the boys are genuinely loving their football with EK right now,” added Smith.

“Wednesday was the biggest game of my career so far and it has set up an even bigger one against Celtic. The club are on the map now and starting to get bigger crowds. We will try our best against Celtic but we know that, on their day, they can do to anyone in Scotland what they did to Hamilton Accies when they beat them 8-1 the other night. Maybe we can get them on an off day and do ourselves proud.”

No-one was prouder than dad Andy as he watched from the tiny K-Park stand on Wednesday and he confirmed afterwards there has been renewed SPFL interest in his son recently.

“There have been some clubs looking at him but I think we just wanted to get this tie out of the way and then we can see what happens,” he said.

“Jack wasn’t on top of his game on Wednesday but it’s always been a sign of a good player when you can score even though you’re not at your best.

“He’s 21 and I was the same age when I left Peterhead to join Airdrie in the senior ranks. But that’s where the similarities stop because he’s a far better footballer than I was! He’s not a chip off the old block. Jack is a lot quicker, for a start, and he’s a better finisher. He should have a good future in the game.

“I don’t go on about my own exploits too much anymore because it’s all about him now. After all these years he’s bored listening to my stories, so I’ll need to listen to his now.”