A controversial late penalty secured Linlithgow Rose all three points against Newtongrange as boss David McGlynn hailed his players for showing a different side to their play.
Rose were far from their best with the home side dominating much of the match, but the Prestonfield men displayed a ruthlessness in front of goal as they made it four Super League victories on the bounce ahead of Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup trip to Threave Rovers.
Striker Tommy Coyne converted a spot-kick ten minutes from time to put the visitors 3-1 ahead after Graham Weir had gone down in the area, referee Duncan Smith pointing straight to the spot and leaving Nitten incensed as home boss Stevie McLeish blasted the level of officiating.
McGlynn admitted his side weren’t at their best, but hailed their resilience after a workman-like performance. He said: “I don’t think we played great, but we showed a lot of character there. We never played any fancy stuff, it was more roll the sleeves up and showing something that we’ve not had for a long time, that hunger and desire. We need to have a different side to us – we have to make sure we win games.
“My teams are based on passing the ball about and doing things sharp but sometimes you don’t get the time to do that. They’ve got good players in good areas and they’ll win a lot of games here. It’s one of the hardest places to come and to come away from here with three points is excellent.”
Rose became the first Junior club to reach the fifth round of the Scottish Cup last season and McGlynn can’t wait to kick-start this season’s campaign when they take on South of Scotland side Threave this weekend. “We’ve got the big one this week,” he said. “We go to Threave and that’s what it’s all about because the Scottish Cup is magnificent to be in and the club is buzzing for it.”
Coyne got the visitors off to a flier after six minutes. Former Livingston defender Bradley Donaldson spread the ball out to the left for Kevin Kelbie, who drove the ball across goal for his strike partner to knock home. The home side were unperturbed, though, as they demonstrated their own capabilities with captain Lee Currie the catalyst in midfield for their forays forward.
Star were on top with the visitors pressed back and against the run of play Rose doubled their lead. Blair Batchelor was tricky as he manoeuvred himself to some 30 yards out before slipping in Jack Beaumont, who let rip with an unstoppable strike into the top corner which left goalkeeper John Dodds with no chance.
The home side got themselves back into it before the break as striker Errol Douglas pounced on a loose ball and sent an emphatic finish past Rose keeper Ritchie Barnard – the former East Stirling stopper having replaced Ally Adams as McGlynn’s No. 1.
Batchelor should have made it three on 58 minutes after being put though one-on-one but his lobbed effort drifted wide of the post. Holding on to a one-goal advantage there was always a danger for Rose that the home side might sneak an equaliser. They put that to bed, however, after Weir went down under Dodds’ challenge and Coyne netted.
Star substitute Sean Paliczka capitalised on poor defending to pull one back with three minutes remaining. Home defender Scott Swaney was given a second yellow card after the full-time whistle for dissent.
Home boss McLeish was fuming at the penalty award and was aggrieved that his side didn’t take a point, saying: “It was never a penalty. We were calling one for five minutes before with a handball situation and he didn’t even look at it – that’s just ridiculous refereeing,” he said. “He was desperate to book individual players for whatever reason and make it all about him.”
Newtongrange Star: Dodds, Lally, Swaney, Hamilton, Richardson, Morris, Currie, Bracks, Sinclair (Paliczka), Douglas, Cropley.
Linlithgow Rose: Barnard, McNab (Hamill), R Donaldson, B Donaldson, Thom, Beaumont, Batchelor, Shirra, Kelbie, Coyne (McAllister), Gray (Weir).