THREE pivotal moments in the space of a few days ensured that Glenafton would win the league.

As the minutes were ticking away last Wednesday night at a packed Loch Park, they were awarded a penalty with the match against relegated Troon poised at 1-1.

You could reach out and touch the tension in the air, but calmest man in New Cumnock was David Gray, who fired his spot-kick into the top corner.

On to Saturday, and the only way that the race would go down to the wire was if Talbot got a point at Beith, irrespective of what happened at Guy’s Meadow, temporary home of Rob Roy.

With 25 minutes gone, the news filtered through that Beith had scored, but the best was saved till last as Chris Dallas put Glens ahead before scoring a second and Glens were champs.

Victorious manager, Craig McEwan, said: “I always felt we could mount a challenge for the title. What we done throughout the season was set targets.

“It was ‘win this game’ and ‘win that game’, ‘get into the next round of the cup’ and ‘reach 32 points’ but I always felt we were good enough to win it.

“We were getting good results and, behind closed doors, I was telling the players I believed in them and in the last couple of months they started showing that belief in themselves.

“Now we will get the league championship trophy presented at our home match against Rob Roy on Saturday, which will be followed by our player of the year dance.

“We will enjoy the day and the celebrations which are well deserved for everyone at the club and the community that has supported us so well.”

With a league title under their belt, Glens have many contenders for top performer but there is no doubt that Gray’s dead-ball talents, including last week’s penalty, have been crucial.

Speaking to the Chronicle minutes after remaining calm, cool and collected to score, he said: “I never felt any pressure stepping up to take the kick.

“My technique is that I do not make my mind up too early where it’s going. I watch the keeper, not the ball, and when he moves I go the same way — but put enough on it so that he can’t get near it.

“Mick McCann had taken a penalty in our previous game against Arthurlie.

“He wanted to take it that time but against Troon, I decided that I fancied myself to score so I stepped up.

“Troon had nothing to play for and when you play against teams in that position, they are coming here with no pressure.

“All the pressure was on us. We really had to get the three points.

“The gaffer gave us a rollicking at halftime and we were better in the second half.”

McEwan has very rarely had to take his players to task this season, such has been their level of performance, and he was full of praise after Saturday’s title clincher.

He said: “The squad’s confidence has grown as the season progressed and we have a lot of big-game players who have played at senior level.

“I always knew they were up to the challenge and they did well against a very good Rob Roy side.

“We haven’t always got the credit we deserved this season but we have quietly gone about our business and now look forward to Saturday at home.”