Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith revealed his side will prepare differently for their glamour William Hill Scottish Cup third round tie at home to Raith Rovers after they comprehensively dismantled Haddington Athletic in the Junior Cup second round.
The in-form South Division leaders couldn’t spring a shock to halt the Rose ahead of next weekend’s hotly-anticipated tie, with several of their usual starting XI on the sidelines.
Smith was delighted with the way his side took care of their opponents and gave an insight into their preparation for the week ahead.
He said: “I always thought it was going to be a difficult game if we didn’t approach it right and I’m delighted with how we performed – I would’ve taken that before coming down here today.
“Monday night will start with a discussion on how we are looking to play next Saturday, because I think it would be very naïve to approach it gung-ho just like it would be usually, because the reality is they are better than us – they are full time.
“It’s going to be a great day for the club and everyone is looking forward to it and although it will be difficult we need to give ourselves the best possible chance of getting a result.
“We’ve done a lot of homework and watched a lot of clips, but we need to approach this one differently than what we are used to every week.”
Rose were too good for their opponents and were in front as early as the fifth minute – dispelling any notion that the Hi-His would spring a shock on the Super League giants.
Colin Strickland produced a wonderful finish – volleying into the top corner from the right-hand side of the box after the ball broke out from a corner, a pinpoint finish which left Andrew McQueen with no chance in the Haddington goal.
A brave block from Haddington captain Chris Gray who passed a late fitness test prevented Rose going further in front minutes later, with Francis Kelly’s shot goalbound.
But Haddington’s defence was breached once more on 11 minutes. Rose keeper Michael McKinven turned defence into attack with his clearance which fell straight to Tommy Coyne and as McQueen rushed out of his goal, the prolific striker lobbed over him into the net.
The home side had their fair share of possession but were struggling to carve out many opportunities as the first half wore on – manager Johnny Harvey incensed from the technical area as he urged his side forward.
However, it was all over before the half time break. Midfielder Kelly rounded McQueeen and passed into the empty net after latching onto Blair Batchelor’s through ball.
The Hi-His began the second half better – Bob Berry carving out Haddington’s first attempt at goal, but his strike was straight at McKinven.
Kevin Kelbie extended Rose’s lead to four on 58 minutes. Captain Mark Tyrrell swung in a cross and Strickland flicked on for the former Camelon man to nod home.
And it was five just three minutes later. Substitute left-back Andy McGown rampaged down the left and after playing a neat one-two he drove a low cross into the box and the ball deflected into the net off Gray.
Rose boss Smith rang the changes with their place in the third-round safe – opting to give Coyne and Kelly a rest, with Calum Smith and Roddy MacLennan flung on.
Strickland came close to a sixth with a header which flashed across the face of goal and inches wide of the post, before Joe Murray shot wide of the post – the striker failing to hit the target when he should have.
McQueen prevented Rose from extending their lead after Smith played in Kelbie and the East Region’s top goalscorer last season forced a good save from the Hi-His keeper with a fierce drive late on.
Rose boss Smith’s biggest headache will be picking the right team for next weekend’s match at Prestonfield.
Midfielder Andy Shirra, who was expected to be out for several weeks, is set to train this week after injuring his ankle against Ballingry two weeks ago, while midfielder Ruari MacLennan is back in contention when he returns from holiday.
Haddington Athletic: McQueen, Gallagher, Wojtowycz (Wright), Gray, Motion, Berry, Smith, Ponton, McMillan (Smith), Ferguson (Murray), Noble.
Linlithgow Rose: McKinven, Tyrrell, McKillen (McGown), O’Byrne, Oventstone, Nelson, Kelly (MacLennan), Batchelor, Strickland, Coyne (Smith), Kelbie.