Mark Burchill vows not to repeat cup final pain

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Livingston manager Mark Burchill is preparing his side for Sunday’s Petrofac Training Cup final with Alloa and he is out to ensure that no Lion suffers the same cup disappointments that he has.

The 34 year old, who took over from John McGlynn in December, two months after their berth in next Sunday’s showdown was booked with a penalty shootout win over Stranraer, has suffered both on and off the park when silverware has been up for grabs.

Livingston manager Mark Burchill hopes his players will not taste his cup final heartache. Picture: SNS

Livingston manager Mark Burchill hopes his players will not taste his cup final heartache. Picture: SNS

Burchill said: “Cup finals have never been great for me in the past but, hopefully, this one will be. It started at Celtic, where I was involved in the preparations for two. However, I never even made the bench in either of them.

“One of the finals, in 1999, was against Rangers in the Scottish Cup and the second was against Aberdeen in the League Cup the next year. Back then you could only have three substitutes and Celtic went for a goalkeeper, a defender and a striker. I was not the striker.”

Burchill, however, thought that he would have been. He said: “I had scored twice in both league games before the cup finals. In fact, before we played Rangers I scored three times in the last two games and I still never played. It did not feel great.

“I was just sitting there thinking how I am going to win this cup final for Celtic and be a hero. Then the team got named and I was not even getting stripped. Once under Dr Jo Venglos was bad enough, but for it to happen a second time when Kenny Dalglish was the manager was really disappointing.

“I have to pick a side now and telling players they are not playing is a horrible part of the job.”

Mark Burchill

“They went for experience and I can understand that now. Against Aberdeen I had Tommy Johnston ahead of me. He went on and scored one of the goals. If you are only going to have one striker on the bench, you are going to go for the experienced one.

“Would I have done the same if I had been the manager? Well, possibly.”

What irks Burchill more than not playing was not being told he was not going to be involved. “I know I will need to let some players down next weekend and it will tough to do,” he said. I will try to do it a different way to the way I found out. Both times with Celtic I was sitting in the dressing room expecting to be involved.”

Burchill added: “I have to pick a side now and telling players they are not playing is a horrible part of the job. You feel you are crushing a player, but it has to be done. I try to be honest. If they ask why they are not in the team I will tell them why”

Burchill bounced back from his Celtic disappointments to play in four cup finals, but was unsuccessful in all of them.

The six times capped Scotland striker said: “When I was at Dundee we played Rangers in the Scottish Cup final and lost 1-0 to a Lorenzo Amoruso goal. It was a fantastic occasion to be involved in and great to start but we just came up a bit short.

“I then had three finals with Dunfermline and, ironically, two of them were against Celtic. The League Cup in 2006 which was the Jimmy Johnstone Final as he had died just before it and then the Scottish Cup in 2007 when Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé scored the game’s only goal.”

To complete an unhappy Pars hat-trick Burchill added: “I then had a Challenge Cup final when Dunfermline lost 3-2 to St Johnstone, so not a lot of great memories there either.”

QUIZ: can you name these 16 Scottish footballers from the nineties/ early 2000s?

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