Bonnyrigg Rose boss David McGlynn praised their Highland opponents for pushing his new side all the way as the Red and Whites scraped through to the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup.
North Super League outfit Inverness City put up a valiant performance to belittle their underdog tag – the minnows priced up as 13/1 outsiders to claim victory in the Capital, as Bonnyrigg had been expected to steamroll the out-of-form visitors.
Inverness took a shock first-half lead which they held onto until midway through the second period, until Rose finally broke through to equalise and then avoided a replay with a late winner.
“Good on them, they came down with a game plan and stuck to it,” said a relieved McGlynn. “They had a great spirit about them, which is something we are working hard on ourselves. However, on a different day we could’ve been 3-0 up after ten minutes.
“We gave them a lifeline and something to hold on to. We created enough chances to win ten games – their goalie made five or six really good saves and we squandered a couple.”
Player-coach Steven Hislop returned to the starting eleven after missing out through injury last weekend and he was partnered upfront by his 20-year-old deputy Blair Henderson.
Henderson could’ve had a hat-trick in the first-half, but found Inverness goalkeeper Ian Young in inspired form and up against a defence which threw their bodies in front of everything that came their way.
The home side passed up numerous chances in the opening quarter. New signing Conor Thomson was a real threat down the left wing all afternoon as he terrorised the Inverness right back.
Thomson put Young to the test with a fierce strike from the edge of the box after cutting inside on 25 minutes before Henderson was denied as he tried to round the keeper three minutes later.
It was therefore a surprise when Inverness took the lead on 35 minutes. City were gifted the opener however. Ex-Hearts man Jonny Stewart was slack in gifting possession away inside his own half after taking a pass from keeper Connar Easton and with the keeper out of position, Euan Urqhart rifled into the net from 25 yards.
McGlynn took off Hislop at the break and brought on new signing Jonny Court, the youngster having joined on-loan from Scottish Championship side Raith Rovers on Friday night. It was his fellow young striker Henderson who should’ve levelled for Rose on 65 minutes when he sent a header off the bar inside the box.
With their luckless afternoon in front of goal continuing, all signs suggested this was going to be Inverness’ day. However, their rearguard was finally pierced two minutes later.
Captain Ross Archibald would claim it, although keeper Young, who had been in inspired form, should’ve done better. Archibald swung in a cross from the right wing aimed for Henderson. Young looked o have grasped it, but somehow managed to send the ball behind him and into the net.
Inverness responded well though as both sides had chances to settle the tie – Rose in particular eager to avoid a trip north for a replay as McGlynn pushed Thomson further forward to form a front three.
It was midfielder Alan Horne who grabbed the winner however, his strike from outside the box outfoxing Young with the aid of a deflection. It left Inverness gutted, but they certainly weren’t disgraced.
Bonnyrigg will find out their second-round opponents when the draw takes place on Sunday, October 4.
Bonnyigg Rose: Easton, Archibald, Murray, Stewart, Wilson, Woodburn, Horne, Whitson (Carse), Henderson, Thomson, Hislop (Court).
Inverness City: Young, McGregor, McKenzie, MacDonald, Mason, Duncan, Urqhart (Corbett), Fuller (Wilson), Kerr (Jones), Stewart, Miller.