SAUCHIE boss Iain Diack was left frustrated as his side's season came to an end following their King Cup defeat to Newtongrange Star.

The Beechwood Park side more than matched their East of Scotland Conference A opponents in Saturday's quarter-final but narrowly missed out, going down 2-1 in the Wee County.

In a turgid, end of season affair, the scoring was saved for the second half as the visitors took the lead when George Hunter pounced on a defensive lapse from Stewart Houston.

Sauchie rallied and took the game to the Star and soon levelled thanks to Stevie Dolan's header, only to lose it near the death when Hunter again benefitted from generous defending to seal his side's place in the semi-finals.

There was late drama when Sauchie stopper Cameron Cairney was sent off for a foul outside the box, but the game had long since petered out by then.

Diack told Advertiser Sport: "There was very little between the two teams and they were just a bit cuter than us.

"It was a game where we huffed and puffed. We had two good chances in the first half and Cammy Cairney made a fantastic double save.

"The mistake which led to the first goal was really disappointing, especially as we had started the second-half very well.

"When we scored, it seemed like we were the most likely to go on and win the game but again a silly mistake cost us."

Worryingly, Mark Finlayson - who made his long awaited return from injury – had to be stretchered off with a head knock after only ten minutes and is set for several weeks on the treatment table.

Meanwhile, Sauchie face an anxious wait to discover if their sixth placed finish has been enough to secure a place in next season's Superleague.

East of Scotland bosses are set to meet on Monday night to discuss the issue but, whatever the outcome, Diack believes his side can be proud of their efforts in his debut management season.

The 38-year-old added: "I said to the boys in the dressing room that it might be disappointing, but at the same time we have a lot of young players.

"There were a lot of questions asked by players who had been at the club who had no right to ask those kinds of questions. They had been bouncing about at the bottom of the league for years.

"It's definitely worked and we have a good platform to build on. We've competed with all of these big teams and our players will only get better next year."

Meanwhile, Sauchie staff and supporters presented the squad with their end of season awards following the defeat to Newtongrange Star.

Defender David Cross was named Players' Player of the Year, Houston crowned Supporters' Player of the Year, and youngster Ross Crawford beat Cross to Top Goalscorer.

And Diack was keen to single out the trio for praise.

"David Cross for me has been our best defender by a county mile and I believe he can go on and play at an even higher level," Diack continued.

"Housty is someone who always gives his all and his pace has gotten us out of so many tricky situations.

"Whereas Ross has come in and been brilliant. There won't be many other strikers at this level who have had the impact he has."