THERE’S a quiet optimism brewing around the streets of Auchinleck.

Black and gold flags have been unfurled and now adorn the walls of homes and businesses around the village.

It’s a scene usually reserved for a Junior Cup Final but the growing buzz this time will greet it’s senior equivalent when Ayr United come to town – with the BBC hot on their heels on Saturday.

Auchinleck Talbot secretary Henry Dumigan has been hard at work helping to organise their biggest match of the season and the atmosphere around the community has been infectious.

Henry said: “Everybody’s up for it and everybody you speak to is looking forward to it.

“We’ve tried to keep it as normal as possible because of ongoing games but the fans have been thinking about the Ayr game for a couple of weeks now and you can’t stop that.”

Club manager Tommy Sloan added: “It’s all everyone talks about. The Ayr game has kinda overshadowed the derby matches and all that. It’s a one off game, a derby match you thought you’d never see, Ayr United coming here.”

It’s seven years since Talbot last made this stage of the Scottish Cup when they lost 1-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle. This time, regardless of the result, Henry thinks it will be more beneficial for the club.

He added: “In comparison to the Hearts game, I think this is far, far better. It’s far better for the community and it sets a challenge for us as a club to stage a game like this at this stage in the cup at Beechwood Park and Auchinleck in general.

“We’ve been learning a lot through that because there have been a lot of hoops to jump through and a lot of red tape to go through to get this going – things we’ve had to upgrade and all the rest of it.

“It will leave a legacy with us because we will learn from this for the bigger games.”

One local postman is looking forward to the match a little more than some. Gordon Pope played in that game at Tynecastle and he agrees that hosting this match will be a huge boost for the community.

Gordon said: “It’s going to be a packed crowd – 3,100 – that’s what we are all looking forward to. It’s great for the club as well, that’s the big thing. The club’s going to do well out it and get a lot of publicity.

“You see everybody is rallying behind us, the tickets sold out with two weeks to go. It’s all about the community because that is the main focal point of Auchinleck so everybody is looking forward to it. They are putting flags up around the park – just folk from around the area out their own skin. The pubs have got the flags out, it’s a good thing. It’s like a Junior Cup Final again. How often are you to get this?”