Dumbarton’s Andy Dowie knows that this could be his last chance to lift a trophy in his long career.

The Sons captain will celebrate his 35th birthday the day after Dumbarton’s Challenge Cup Final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

After a career that has spanned more than 500 appearances for nine Scottish clubs, Dowie admits that the chance of silverware may never come around again. He said: “It’s very unlikely that I’ll experience this again in my career.

“From a personal point of view I’m going to be thinking that I won’t get this opportunity again. I intend to make the most of it.

“The best present I could get, of course, would be the trophy.”

The defender has captained Sons in every game on the road to the final and is the only Dumbarton player to have featured in every minute of the five games.

He also has experience of playing in finals in this competition, experiencing both the highs and the lows with Ross County in 2006 and 2008.

Dowie scored in 2006 as County went on to beat Clyde on penalties, but suffered the heartbreak of scoring an own goal and losing on penalties in 2008 against Airdrie.

Having played in these finals before, the former Rangers youth player knows form is almost irrelevant for cup-ties – but acknowledges that Dumbarton can take confidence from already beating Inverness this season.

But he’s not sure if he’ll be putting his name in the hat if it comes down to penalties.

He said: “I’m certainly hoping to put things right but I’d have to see how the legs are feeling if it went to penalties!

“League form goes out the window to a certain extent but at the same time it’s nice to know that you have beaten them.

“Winning this would be right up there with the best achievements that I’ve had in my career.”

For a man who has seen it all in Scottish football, Dowie admits he was still shocked at the 500-strong travelling support who made the 560-mile round trip to Oswestry to watch Dumbarton triumph over TNS in the semi-final.

The streets of the town are set to be empty this Saturday, as thousands of supporters descend on Perth to see if Sons can win their first major domestic trophy in 135 years.

So far 11 supporters’ buses have been organised by the Sonstrust, with many more set to travel to McDiarmid Park on public transport.

Dowie said: “I was totally taken aback by the support in the semi.

“I honestly don’t think the boys would have came back from 1-0 down had we not had them there. They definitely played a major part.

“It’s fantastic to see so many booked up. We’ve had a while to wait for the final with a busy league schedule and it’s been difficult not to think about it.

“It’ll be a great day for the town and the football club.”