Linlithgow Rose manager David McGlynn heaped praise on his side after they matched their best-ever run in the William Hill Scottish Cup by booking their place in round four with a comprehensive 5-1 win over Wick Academy.
The two sides drew 2-2 last week in the Highlands, but Lithgae were in rampant form for this replay and the Prestonfield outfit will now bid to reach the fifth round of the national tournament for the first time in their history when they host League One outfit Forfar Athletic on Saturday, January 9.
New Forfar boss Gary Bollan watched on and must have been impressed with the showing of the East Super League Junior men, who despite going down to an early goal controlled the match against a Wick side that ended the game with just nine men on the park.
“The result is probably what we deserved,” said McGlynn. “We were outstanding. We started the first five-to-ten minutes a bit sloppy, but then we totally dominated the game from there. Our first three goals were something else.
“Gary was here tonight and hopefully he’ll be impressed and they’ll give us a bit respect when they come here. We now need to prepare and it’s difficult for us because we’ve not got any games [until the tie].”
McGlynn was full of praise for 20-year-old left-back Ryan Baptie – currently on-loan from Peterhead – who came into the side in place of Chris Gray and scored a wonder-goal to put Rose 2-1 ahead. His loan expires in the new year and McGlynn hopes to extend the deal.
“Ryan went in today and done a great job,” said McGlynn. “Some of his deliveries into the box were first class. We’ll deal with that and we’ll speak to Jim McInally [Peterhead manager].”
Wick were first to threaten in the opening minute through striker Gary Weir, his lobbed effort sailing just over the Rose crossbar.
The warning wasn’t heeded as the visitors took the lead just three minutes later, midfielder Sam Mackay unchallenged as he found the bottom corner of the net from 14 yards out.
The hosts gradually started to pass the ball around better and grabbed the equaliser after 20 minutes. Blair Batchelor overlapped down the left wing before cutting back from the byline and Graham Weir was on hand to sweep the ball home.
Wick were given an uphill task when right-back Grant Campbell wiped out Batchelor in the middle of the park and was sent off by referee Nick Walsh.
The momentum was now with Rose and they took the lead in sensational style after 31 minutes. Baptie’s free-kick failed to beat the first defender, but he showed great determination to win the ball back some 30 yards out and after taking a touch, sent an unstoppable strike past keeper Sean McCarthy.
Buoyed by taking the lead, Rose doubled their advantage with a fine move down the right. Tommy Coyne held the ball up before freeing Weir down the right and his pinpoint cross found Colin Strickland to head home.
The interval didn’t disrupt Rose’s stride and seven minutes into the second period, the West Lothian outfit all but secured their passage to the next round with their fourth of the night.
Ruari MacLennan picked the ball up around 25 yards from goal and sent a fizzing, low strike which took a deflection off a Wick defender on its route to goal before nestling in the bottom corner of the net.
Wick’s woes were compounded five minutes later when striker David Allan went down in the area under Colin Leiper’s challenge, referee Walsh showing the forward his second yellow card for simulation and leaving the visitors with just nine men on the park.
Former Hibs youngster Baptie’s delivery from his left-wing berth were causing the Highland League outfit all sorts of trouble as Rose sought a fifth, but it was through space created in the centre of the park that the goal arrived.
Batchelor was afforded too much space to stride into by the Wick defenders and as they stood off him, he slipped a neat through ball for MacLennan to side-foot home for his second of the tie.
Rose squandered plenty of chances in the remainder of the match, but mattered little with a home tie against Forfar Athletic already secured.
Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Thom, Baptie, MacKenzie, Leiper, MacLennan, Batchelor, Shirra, Strickland, Coyne (Robertson), Graham Weir (Kelbie).
Wick Academy: McCarthy, M Steven, G Steven, Farquhar, D Mackay, Campbell, Allan, S Mackay, Manson (Hughes), Harrison (Macadie), Gary Weir (MacGregor).