BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Ryan Finnie insists completing a miraculous great escape with Alloa would top Annan’s fairytale 4-1 win over Hamilton.
The 21-year-old is no stranger to upsetting the odds after playing the full match in the Galabankies’ stunning Scottish Cup triumph against the Accies.
It was arguably the biggest shock in Scotland this season and, having joined the Wasps in January, he hopes to channel some of that underdog spirit into Alloa’s fight for survival.
However, with jobs on the line and a 10-point deficit to claw back, he is adamant avoiding relegation from the Championship would be more memorable than his day in the sun with Annan.
The former Rangers youngster said: “The win over Hamilton was a great occasion and an incredible result against Premiership opposition – but it was only one match in a cup competition.
“Fighting against relegation in the Championship is a different level. This would be a much bigger achievement and it would mean more to help save Alloa from relegation.
“There are jobs on line, people are playing for new contracts and we want to do that gaffer [Jack Ross] justice, because he has been brilliant since he came in and has been nothing but positive.
“That Annan game is a great example of what you can achieve. Football is a strange game and nobody would have given us a hope of winning 4-1 against Hamilton, but if you execute a gameplan and have a bit of luck along the way then you can get big results.
“That is our aim here for the rest of the season and no-one here is throwing in the towel. I can guarantee that. No-one wants a relegation on their CV and we believe we can get out of this.”
While time is running out – just seven games remain for the part-timers to salvage their season – defiant Finnie believes a change of luck is all that is needed for Alloa to pile the pressure on second-bottom Livingston.
Alloa’s lack of fortune was summed up last weekend when Kyle Benedictus popped up in the 92nd minute to rescue a 1-1 draw for Raith – ensuring the Wasps’ nine-game wait for a win continued.
He rued: “We should have won last weekend – and that has been the story in a few games. That ball could fall anywhere in the last minute, but it falls to Benedictus and it’s 1-1. I still don’t know how it went in!
“We need to believe our luck will turn. All we need is to get a scrappy goal ourselves and a bit of good fortune, and that could kick-start our season. There is still enough time for us to get some confidence and put a bit of pressure on Livingston.”
Finnie believes survival would be a fitting reward for manager Ross, who replaced Danny Lennon in December and has been largely lauded by players for his impact since taking the reins.
After working with the Recretion Park boss during a loan stint at Dumbarton, when Ross was assistant to Ian Murray, he cannot think of a better man to have in charge in the final straight.
He added: “The gaffer was a huge part of the reason I came to Alloa. I worked with his when he was assistant manager at Dumbarton and he improved my game during my time there.”