GREENOCK celebrated securing their Super League status for another season with this fine win last night in the Central League Cup.

Irvine Vics’ 2-1 defeat at home to title-chasing Pollok on Saturday means the Ravenscraig men cannot now be caught by the Vics, who are now embroiled in a three-way fight with Yoker and Neilston to see which two clubs take the drop along with Thorniewood and Ardeer.

It was a much-needed boost for Greenock ahead of last night’s cup tie against Renfrew.

And they got off to a dream start when Ryan Begley headed home to put them in front after just three minutes.

But Renfrew then enjoyed the best part of the next half hour, and eventually got their reward when Anton Chalk fired home the equaliser on 28 minutes.

The pendulum then swayed back in Greenock’s direction, and seven minutes before the break, centre-forward Craig Brown got on the end of a Kenny Munro cross to restore their lead.

A Stanton free-kick was then touched onto the post by home keeper Dale Burgess, as the ‘Nock ended the first half back in command.

And, just as they did in the first period, Greenock scored with three minutes on the clock in the second half, when another Stanton cross found left-back Sean Doherty in strange territory for him, with a goal from close range after his initial shot had been saved.

But Renfrew were thrown another lifeline on the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty, which Daryl Boyd easily converted to bring it back to 3-2.

The home side pressed hard for another equaliser, and almost got it with a header from centre-half Ross Campbell which went just inches past the post. However, a dramatic 60-second period saw another two penalties awarded, both to Greenock.

With five minutes left, Munro was brought down in the box and Ryan Craig converted the spot kick. And within seconds referee Xander Harrison was pointing to the spot again, when Brown was sent tumbling as he seemed certain to score. Renfrew’s Chris Cameron was subsequently sent off, and this time the penalty was taken by Munro, pictured, who capped a fine performance by drilling the ball low past keeper Burgess to complete the scoring at 5-2. Greenock’s reward is a last-16 away tie against Carluke Rovers a week on Saturday 23 May.

But before then they complete their league programme tomorrow night when they travel to Cumbernauld to face promotion-chasing Rob Roy.

Manager Martin Campbell said: “The last few weeks have been tough, and it has taken us a bit longer to seal our place in the league than I would have liked. But it is still a brilliant achievement, as our main aim was to stay in this division, and we have now done that.

“As for last night’s match, it was scrappy at times, but we deserved our win, although the two late penalties made it look easier than it was. It would be a nice way to end our season by going as far in this cup as we can.’’ Greenock: McWilliams, Stanton, Doherty, McLaughlin, Begley, Murray, McQuilkin, Scott (Dow 88), Brown, Craig, Munro. Subs not used: Boyd, Campbell.

Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar.