ANDY Halliday said he added “a few more strings” to his bow in Saturday’s win over Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Cup and welcomed the changes the pyramid system which could see such sides join them in the SPFL.

Talbot left the Junior set-up in 2020 and Covid forced them to miss what would have been their inaugural season in the 2020/21 West of Scotland League. Now they sit second, 11 points behind Pollok with five games in hand.

Manager Tommy Sloan presided over years of success in the Juniors, with the 57-year-old taking his place in the dugout for his third meeting versus Hearts on Saturday.

“We all know what the magic of the cup can produce and we knew it was going to be a difficult game,” said Halliday.

"You can see from the gaffer's line-up that we respected them from the off.

“Not only have you got to look at the match against Brora last year, you've only got to look at the shock they produced in the past round against Hamilton – they fully deserved that as well.”

The 30-year-old started the match as one of two No 10s behind striker Liam Boyce. He responded by opening the scoring with a diving header before setting up Boyce for the third of five Hearts goals.

The National: Liam Boyce rises to head in the second of his two goalsLiam Boyce rises to head in the second of his two goals

"It's certainly not something I've done too many times over my career – or played No 10!” he said. “So I've added a couple of more strings to my bow today.

“Any time that I get, it doesn't bother me where I play.”

The fourth-round tie was played at Talbot’s Beechwood Park, with supporters on their tip-toes packed on mounds around the pitch. Halliday, who grew up on Junior football, took any abuse he received from the opposition fans in good spirits.

“It's all in good jest,” he said. “I had a good laugh. I've got a lot of respect for Junior football. My little brother plays for Neilston.

“For me, this is the foundation of our game. I remember growing up, my grandad was a Benburb fan, so I used to go watch them as much as possible.

"For a number of years, in my personal opinion, I thought the Scottish pyramid was pretty flawed. I think since then, you've only got to look at Kelty [who later in the day disposed of holders St Johnstone] and how well they've done since they came into the Scottish pyramid this year. Teams should get their rightful chance at promotion just like anyone else.

"Good luck to Auchinleck and we'll probably see them in the Scottish league sometime soon."