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AYR FOND KISS; Toddler's pride for cup hero dad as town celebrates historic win.

Byline: BOB SHIELDS

AYR United's cup hero Eddie Annand relaxed in the bath yesterday and savoured his side's historic Hampden victory.

And his 20-month-old son Kyle planted a smacker on the Record's photo of the moment his dad will never forget.

The night before, Eddie hammered a penalty past Hibs 'keeper Nick Colgan to book Ayr's place in their first-ever cup final - after 92 years of trying.

The smile was still on his face yesterday - despite the disappointment of picking up a yellow card that means he'll miss the final.

But Eddie and his family weren't the only ones still celebrating yesterday.

The whole of my seaside home town was wearing a smile as long as its sandy beach.

It was the the morning after to end all morning afters - and the town had the second-biggest hangover in Scotland.

Yes...only mine was larger!

But the best is yet to come. The final is next month - and the town aims to throw a party they'll still be talking about in 92 years' time.

"We're thrilled and delighted," said the town's Provost, Liz Foulkes, as she posed for pictures in her Ayr United hat and scarf.

Council leader Andy Hill, a Rangers fan, walked sternly past - it's the Ibrox giants Ayr will take on at Hampden on March 17.

Liz said: "I've now cleared my diary for March 17 and I'm looking forward to a day the whole town will celebrate."

With Auld Ayr bidding for city status, Liz knows the publicity a cup final will bring can only help. She's also agreed to hold a civic reception for manager Gordon Dalziel and his players - win or lose.

She added: "It would be nice to see the whole town get right behind the team.

"If shops and businesses want to decorate their windows, that would be great.

"I also hope every fan who wants to see the game will have the chance of a ticket."

The ticket situation is already a major worry. John Kerr, 22, of Prestwick, said: "We don't have the regular support of a team like Rangers but the whole town will want to come to this very special game.

"I have friends who want to take their sons and daughters and even grandchildren to see a little bit of history."

South Ayrshire Council are already getting into the cup final spirit - in Ayr's Burns Statue Square United's black and white colours were draped round the Bard's neck. The man up the ladder doing the draping was a committed Celtic fan - the Hoops lost out to Rangers on Tuesday night.

Paul Torrance, 22, from Dailly, said: "Obviously, I'm now wanting Ayr to do as well as they can. I may just buy a black and white scarf and go to Hampden. It's great for the whole town."

At Ayr's famous Tam O'Shanter pub, lifelong fan Jim Law, 80, said: "Supporters like me never thought we'd see our team in a final. Winning the final isn't that important to most Ayr fans. Just getting there is a little victory in itself."

In Ayr's other United stronghold, Billy Bridges bar in the Sandgate, ex-soldier Johnny Warren, 81, said: "The boys in the pub have volunteered to make sure I get to Hampden. It'll be a glorious day."

However, the final has left Ayr doctor Andrew Collier with a dilemma - it clashes with his son's christening.

He said: "I'm going to have a few whiskies to pluck up courage and tell my lovely wife I'm moving the ceremony forward a week."

David Herd, 32, from Annbank, had the final word: "Rangers may have one of the biggest supports in Britain - but on March 17
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 8, 2002
Words:613
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