Thistle coach is walking on sunshine

BATHGATE THISTLE coach Alan Lawrence reckons his wife Heather has played a blinder as he bids to bust a cup final hoodoo.

The Bathgate coach has a record of played four lost four on football's big day but he's hoping all that will change this weekend.

After double Scottish Cup misery with Airdrie, he was in the Hearts side crushed 5-1 by Rangers in 1996. Then two years ago, Bathgate's first-ever Junior Cup Final ended in defeat to Auchinleck Talbot.

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So when Lawrence discovered Sunday's Rugby park showdown with Cumnock clashed with his family sunshine break in Spain, he was convinced his cup final jinx had struck again.

Until Heather handed him a dream ticket home.

"She's an angel," said Lawrence, who flew to Spain yesterday. "Completely out of the blue she told me she'd booked a flight home on Sunday and back out early on Monday morning.

"I'd resigned myself to missing Bathgate's big day, but now I feel my luck could be changing."

Lawrence has just an hour to get from the airport and take his place in the Thistle dug-out, and he's promised himself just a couple of beers if Bathgate win. "After what Heather's done for me, she'd kill me if I missed the plane back!"