Highs and lows for PNE defender

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Scott Laird had feelings of both joy and disappointment after Preston’s exit from the FA Cup against Manchester United last night.

The left wing-back had Deepdale rocking two minutes into the second half when he fired the Lilywhites in front.

Scott Laird fires North End into the lead against Manchester United at Deepdale last night in the FA Cup

Scott Laird fires North End into the lead against Manchester United at Deepdale last night in the FA Cup

It was a lead they held for 18 minutes before Ander Herrera pulled United level, there being an element of controversy about it with Wayne Rooney seemingly in an offside position.

Marouane Fellaini then put the visitors into the lead before Rooney scored a late third from the penalty spot.

Laird felt that North End gave a good account of themselves in front of a capacity 21,348 crowd and the millions watching on television.

But it was United who marched on to the sixth round where they will host Arsenal, the draw having been made a few minutes before kick-off by Brian Finney and England coach Roy Hodgson.

Reflecting on his goal, Laird told the Evening Post: “It is the type of goal I have scored before.

“I like the ball being rolled across in front of me so I can come on to it and hit it with my laces across the goal.

“It either comes off a defender like it did with this one, or the keeper can parry it or it goes straight in.

“It was great to get in that position to get the shot away.

“Paul Gallagher was screaming at me to my side to pass it but there was no chance I was going to pass that.

“I got a booking after scoring because I jumped over the barriers and got jumped on by the lads – I smelt the smoke bomb go off and it was all a bit mad for a moment or two.

“It gave us a bit of time to re-group and get our composure back.

“But in the end it wasn’t to be and we couldn’t hold on.

“Maybe it was the old cliché that we scored too early.

“The players who we were playing against, give them chances and they will always take them and cause problems.

“Maybe we invited them on to us, players of that quality will hurt you.”

Laird believes the PNE squad can take many positives from the cup run, in particular last night’s display.

He said “The FA Cup for the lower league clubs is all about this, going into the competition and hoping for a run like we have been on.

“The coverage you get and the chance to showcase your talents aagainst the best teams in the world is fantastic.

“We played well for most of the game and the club handled itself well in the build-up.”

Laird admitted there had been a swapping of shirts after the final whistle.

He said: “I tried to get Juan Mata’s because I like him as a player but I think Josh Brownhill got his,

“I got Adnan Januzaj’s shirt which was nice. Tom Clarke got Rooney’s, I think that was sorted at the captain’s pre-match meeting.

“We couldn’t give ours away because we need them for Scunthorpe on Saturday!”