Lothian Thistle’s Scottish Cup exploits continue

Huntly's John Urquhart and goalkeeper Fraser Hobday try to clear. Picture: Jon Savage
Huntly's John Urquhart and goalkeeper Fraser Hobday try to clear. Picture: Jon Savage
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Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale marched on in the William Hill Scottish Cup to earn a fourth-round tie at East Kilbride, the team who knocked them out the tournament last season.

The Edinburgh club beat Highland League Huntly at Ainslie Park 3-0 in the third-round replay.

Lothian boss Raymond Carr is now looking forward to the prospect of a tie with Billy Ogilvie’s side.

“They are flying at the moment and they got a superb result against Stenhousemuir in the last round but we’ll look at that when it comes, it’s still important we kick on in the league as well,” he said.

After Saturday’s postponement due to Storm Desmond, Carr handed John Ross Kerr a starting berth with Eddie Mearns suspended following his late dismissal in the first match at Christie Park, whilst there was a place on the bench for Scott Moffat who has resumed training following a collapsed lung.

Lothian were unexpectedly sporting their reverse white kit due to the colour clash with Huntly’s blue away kit, but despite that late change they were quick to settle on the artificial turf.

Huntly went close after 11 minutes when Neale Davidson stabbed wide following a cut back from striker David Booth who netted the opener in the first encounter.

Five minutes later a menacing left-wing cross from Scott Taylor-McKenzie caused a bit of consternation in the Huntly defence with John Urquhart and Darren Wood colliding in an attempt to clear the danger.

Lothian took the lead in spectacular fashion after 22 minutes when Taylor-McKenzie curled in a delicious strike into the top corner from 30 yards following a pass from Dean Cummings.

Willis Hare was looking to create another piece of cup magic for himself after his extra-time winner at Montrose in the second round. His shot was blocked by the legs of Huntly keeper Fraser Hobday on 35 minutes before Ian Cruickshank went close for Mark Gray’s side with a bouncing effort that goalkeeper Kevin Swain had to gather at his near post.

Lothian’s Scott Gormley went close to scoring his third goal of the competition following a long upfield ball but he caught it on his weaker left foot and scuffed his effort harmlessly wide, as the East of Scotland Champions went in at the break a goal to the good.

Kerr doubled Lothian’s advantage eight minutes into the second half just seconds after he had fired in a shot that flew inches over Hobday’s crossbar.

Gormley pulled away down the right wing before delivering a teasing cross to the back post, Kerr rising well to direct his header into the far corner of the net.

Glen Murison screwed a shot wide of Swain’s left-hand post as the visitors looked to try and get a foothold back into the game with Booth’s penalty-box effort gathered by the former Spartans stopper.

Kerr was booked for diving as he looked to win a penalty for Lothian on 62 minutes before Davidson had a shot defected over for the visitors.

The Highland League side were rapidly running out of time and their misery was compounded on 84 minutes when keeper Hobday was sent off after bringing down Taylor Hendry who attempted to round him.

Darren Smith confidently stepped up to stroke the ball into the net past and although Huntly continued to battle away gamely, Lothian never looked to be in any real danger of conceding as they comfortably saw out the closing minutes to secure another memorable evening as Lothian became the first East of Scotland club to advance in the tournament past Christmas following the advent of the pyramid system.

Carr was delighted to see his side secure another big scalp in the competition dedicating the win to former manager Kevin Twaddle who celebrated the birth of his baby daughter this week.

“Once we settled down and got into our stride we played some wonderful football and I think Scott’s goal gave us the boost we needed to go on and win the game.

“Sometimes it is easy to play to play too much football but although we probably played better football up at Montrose, once we got the first goal I knew we’d be in a great position and John Ross Kerr did well to get the second goal, we know he’s got a real presence with his height and he was brought in to help Scott Gormley up front.”

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Swain, Moore, Taylor-McKenzie, Wilkes, Crawford, Smith, Brown, Cummings, Gormley (O’Donnell) Kerr, Hare (Hendry). Subs; McDonagh, Moffat, Fox, Shala, Ogilvie.

Huntly: Hobday, Allan, Urquhart, Clark, Wood, McCulloch, Murison (Scoular) Cruickshank, Booth, Donaldson, Davidson. Subs; Croll, Duguid, Lawson, Johnston, Grant.