Linlithgow successfully overcame a very good Nairn side to begin what everyone with a Rose heart is hoping will be another Scottish Cup adventure like the one they enjoyed in 2007/8.
In that season they went out in the fourth round beaten by Queen of the South who went on to contest the final at Hampden. They had to work very very hard however to beat a Nairn side full of players with talent in spadefulls.
Both teams looked pretty even in the opening encounters with the game played at a frantic pace. Nairn had the better of the chances and did have the ball in the net from a cracking Stuart Leslie drive but it was ruled out for offside.
Linlithgow opened the scoring on the half hour with an own goal from Wayne McIntosh. Adam Nelson sent over an inviting cross from the left wing to the back post and there was a lack of communication between McIntosh and full back Archie McPhee with McIntosh heading a looping ball back over the keeper’s head and into the net. This gave Linlithgow a huge lift and the big crowd of 850 to their feet.
Roddy MacLennan had a great run at goal only for the keeper to save well. This was followed by a super Billy Gibson header that hit the side netting as Nairn wilted under the pressure.
It was a different Linlithgow side who came out for the second half. They looked more determined and soon had Nairn on the back foot. They were creating chances but good goalkeeping and bad luck stopped them adding to their tally. They needed another goal but it just wouldn’t come.
Colin Strickland, Tommy Coyne and substitute striker Calum Smith all had great chances to double their lead but keeper Calum Donaldson was in great form to deny them.
A second goal had to come however and it did at the best possible time for Linlithgow. There was only five minutes to go when Steven Meechan sealed the game with a terrific strike. Adam Nelson sent over a corner from the right to the back post. Meechan was all alone with no markers allowing him to volley home from a super goal from six yards.
Rose manager Mark Bradley said: “That was a magic result for us. We had to work really hard for that result. They had all the respect from us because we knew they would be direct and strong. Our lads though, were terrific and did whatever Nairn asked from them. We treated this game the same as every other game for us, all I spoke about was how this competition is magic and that was only on the morning of the game.
“We’ll be focussed on every game we play in but we have now taken the first step in what we hope will be another adventure like in January 2008 at Palmerston Park, Dumfries. The players, committee and our great support all enjoyed that adventure so hopefully we can give them that again.”
Nairn boss Les Fridge said: “We started the game well but lost the own goal and that knocked up back a bit. Then I thought we looked the better side in the second half. But it wasn’t to be. We wish Linlithgow all the best in the next round.”
Linlithgow full back Adam Nelson who played the balls in for the goals was delighted, saying: “I knew it would be a hard game because I’ve played against Highland League teams in the past are they are always good. The standard up North is really good so to beat them we had to play well. The romance of the cup is what they say so it would be great to take another step. Let’s just see what happens in the next round but if luck is with you it’s with you.
“Mark spoke to us about what to expect and he asked me to take all the corners giving them something to think about. Steven scored from my corner near the end and that finished them. We got a lot of support and texts from junior managers and players in our league and we appreciated that.”
Linlithgow: Christie, Gibson, McKenzie, Tyrrell, Ovenstone, Shirra, Meechan(McKillen), Nelson, Strickland, Coyne, MacLennan(Smith). Subs: Herd, McArthur, Scott.
Nairn: Donaldson, Gl Main, McPhee, Webb, McDonald, McIntosh, Leslie, Gr Main(Neil), Duncanson(McCallum), Lethin, Moore. Subs: A Naismith, McLeod, P Naismith.