AUCHINLECK Talbot have been declared West Premiership champions in the last year of Junior league football.

But manager Tommy Sloan believes the season will be defined by coronavirus and not another historic title for his high-flying side.

The decision to award Talbot the title shone the spotlight the West Region leagues.

They were awarded the championship despite sitting 12 points behind league leaders Kilwinning Rangers, but with nine games in hand.

In football everyone traditionally remembers the winners, but for Sloan this season will be remembered for the devastating pandemic that brought a halt to a title charge.

He told the Chronicle: “My mind’s not on even on the fact we’ve just won the league. I’ve not even spoke to any players or anyone at the club.

“It’s all for the paperwork. They have got to have a winner to move onto next year, but no one will be celebrating at Auchinleck.

“It was a surprise to me, I thought they would have just made the season null and void, and everybody would have just moved on.

“None of the clubs had anything to do with that decision, so you’ve just got to accept it.

Talbot were still in the running for an historic 13th Scottish Junior Cup, with a quarter final tie looming against rivals Hurlford United.

Despite a fixture pile up to complete, on-form Talbot fancied their chances.

Sloan said: “It’s a normal thing for us to have a backlog of fixtures going into the end of the season.

“I was delighted with the form we were showing in the main, we had a strong side, but you’ve still got to out there and do it.

“We were in a strong position in the league we had the quarter final of the Scottish Junior Cup to look forward to.

“We’ve not been able to fulfil that, it’s a bit disappointing, but there’s more important things going on in the world right now.

“This for me will always be remembered as the season that stopped because of the virus.”

The West Region also announced the winners of the Championship, League One and League Two.

Blantyre Victoria and Darvel FC have been jointly awarded the title in the Championship.

Ardrossan Winton Rovers FC have lost out on their title push with Shettleson Juniors picking up the League One championship.

The Rovers were leading the league with Lanark United both on 44 points, but the title has been awarded to the Glasgow side who had three games in hand and sat just one point behind.

Muirkirk Juniors also had their title dreams ended, with Johnstone Burgh being awarded the League Two honours.

Kevin Muirhead’s men sat in third place with five games in hand behind leaders Vale of Leven.

But the Renfrewshire club sat fifth with ten games in hand to play, just eight points off the summit.


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