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Antonine Blacks defeated twice reigning champions Tynecastle on sudden death penalties after the two sides could not find a winner after regulation not extra time. The first half was a close affair, but Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright saved Greg Kerr's nineteenth minute penalty. However, Ciaron Small fired Tynecastle ahead shortly before half time. Six minutes after the break, Kerr made amends after he fired in his side's second. A stunning free kick from Euan Urquhart halved the deficit, and then a header from Andy Nixon sent the game to extra time.
Nixon got his second goal of the afternoon in the second half of extra time. With the game into added time, Jason Kerr's late goal sent the game to penalties. After each team had scored all five penalties, Scott Wright saved the first sudden death penalty when he denied Mark Shiel. The pressure fell on Antonine's Calum Campbell to score the winning penalty in a Scottish Cup Final penalty shoot-out, which he duly rose to by sending the ball into the top corner and his team into cloud nine.
Everything was being made of the fact that the last three Scottish Cups had been claimed by one of these sides, and of course that these two teams had played each other in the 14s and the 15s finals. Antonine won the first meeting, and Tynecastle the second, who of course then defended their title against Clydebank last year.
Both sides had saw off strong opposition en route to the final: many people indeed argue that these two sides are still the absolute very best in Scottish youth football at the 1997 age group, therefore it was only fitting that these two sides were to meet yet again in a show case Scottish Cup Final.
They walked out at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium to a loud support, with Survivor's classic 'Eye of the Tiger' also booming out over the stadium. Their was plenty of noise coming from the stands, particularly from the Antonine sides - this all of course only adding the grandeur of the occasion. Both sides had tasted victory in this trophy - the biggest trophy their is - prior to today and both teams now were now fully focused on reigning victorious as Scottish champions yet again. Of course though, there could only be one victor at full time...
Unsurprisingly, the opening spell of the game was neck and neck, with both sides playing attractive, fluent and attacking football. Tynecastle's Jason Kerr was the first player to register a shot on target inside two minutes, however Antonine goalkeeper Scott Wright held the ball well.
Up the other end, it looked like Antonine were going to take a six minute lead when Andrew Nixon bore down on goal, however David Henderson's last gap slide tackle prevented a sure goal.
Tynecastle midfielder Ryan Mayer came close to breaking the deadlock when he tested Wright with a fine curling effort, however the goalie produced an equally fine stop when by tipping the ball over the bar.
Nineteen minutes into the 1997 Scottish Cup Final the game got it's first real talking point when Tynecastle's Greg Kerr was tripped in the penalty box. Kerr dusted himself off to take the spot kick himself just as the Antonine fans began to chant the name of their goalkeeper praying for him to be their saviour... and the goalkeeper answered those prayers by indeed saving Kerr's spot kick! An opportunity missed for Tynecastle - and they knew it.
Up the other end, Antonine rallied on the back of that penalty save. Andrew Nixon even had the ball in the Tynecastle goal just before the half hour mark, but the offside had been raised in plenty of time.
Half time was near when Tynecastle broke the deadlock. A corner from the right hand side was floated in by Liam Thomson, and following a goal mouth scramble Ciaron Small was on hand to fire home at the near post.
A great time to get the opener as the referee soon after concluded the first half - and it was Tynecastle who were only forty-five minutes away from a third successive Scottish Cup victory.
The first half was a close affair, and the second was sure to be a nervy spectacle.