‘We were 15 minutes away from history.’
That was the reaction from Dick Campbell after Kilmarnock snatched a late winner to clinch the league title against Arbroath.
The Lichties came so close to setting up a grand Championship finale but the Ayrshire side came from behind to win the dramatic tie 2-1.
What could have been
James Craigen opened the scoring on 10 minutes sending shockwaves through Rugby Park.
Arbroath looked well worth their lead and could have been 2-0 up at half-time if Luke Donnelly was only able to turn his glancing effort in.
A win for the Angus side would have put them one game away from becoming the first part-time team to win the Championship.
But the visitors looked tired in the second half and couldn’t withstand the Killie pressure, conceding twice in the final 12 minutes.
Ash Taylor struck first on 78 minutes from close range. Then Blair Alston broke Arbroath hearts, wrong-footing Derek Gaston with a strike from the edge of the box in the 90th minute.
Speaking to Courier Sport after the game, a despondent Dick Campbell said: “We were 15 minutes away from history.
“I thought we were by far the best team in the first half.
“In the second half, I thought they looked tired. But we’ll be very courteous in defeat and congratulate Kilmarnock.”
‘All very gutted’
Despite losing out on the title race, Campbell still looked to the positives with the Premiership still in reach via the play-offs.
They will kick off their alternative route to the top flight on Tuesday May 10 away to either Inverness, Partick Thistle or Raith Rovers.
“We are all very gutted,” Campbell admitted. “But the main thing is, we still have a chance of going up and we’ll give it our best.
“We had a magnificent crowd; I feel we let them down a bit.
“We need to recognise the season that we’ve had and we need to take our next steps, we could even face Kilmarnock again in the Premiership next season.”