What a difference a year makes.
Twelve months ago Hamilton Accies striker Andy Ryan was licking his wounds after experiencing one of his most difficult days in the game, following an embarrassing 1-0 Scottish Cup third round exit to Auchinleck Talbot.
This year, with that nightmare still very much fresh in the memory of the striker and the nine other squad members still at the club from that day, the third round draw served up another potential banana skin for the Championsip side when Lowland League title hopefuls East Kilbride came calling on Saturday.
But on this occasion there was to be no repeat of the Talbot debacle as Ryan ended the day a hat-trick hero in a comfortable 4-0 victory.
And it was with a slight sigh of relief that Ryan sat down in the Accies media room on the winning side, as they banished their demons in style.
He said: "It was kind of a lose-lose for us as we were expected to win and if we lost it would have been a disaster like the Talbot game.
"Last year was horrible. It was one of the lowest moments I've felt after a game.
“We knew it was going to be difficult going down to Talbot's patch, but this time we knew we had home advantage and fast forward a year it’s totally different because we are in the hat for starters, and on paper it was a comfortable win.
“You saw the way East Kilbride came here - it was a cup final to them. They are a Lowland League team coming up against a Championship side.
“I said to the boys to try to get an early goal and that would knock the wind out of their sails a bit.
“Fair play to them, they kept trying and were a threat on the counter and with the long balls in behind us.
“In the end it was a good win."
Ryan's hat-trick was perhaps the finest of his 10-year spell in the game, with a rocket of a strike for the opener followed up by a clever finish from close range and he then capped off the treble with a sensational lob over Kilby keeper Curtis Lyle from 30-yards.
That lob, which completed the scoring after 16-year-old substitute Ryan One had also got in on the act with his first goal for the club, was one for the career highlights reel and he insisted he had spotted the EK goalie off his line earlier in the game.
He said: Believe it or not, I actually thought about it 10 minutes before.
"The one that did fall to me, I took a decent first touch and I thought I’m going to go for it.
“It was certainly a nice way to cap off the hat-trick.”
With tonight's fourth round draw looming, attention will soon turn back to league business, where Accies currently prop up the Championship table.
And with a trip to Hampden to face high-flying Queen's Park this Saturday, the 28-year-old hopes it can be the turning point.
He said: “It has to – there’s no two ways about it. We’ve not had a great start.
“It’s about confidence and we’ve scored four goals and kept a clean sheet. That was a big thing as well and it’s important we build on this."
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