Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale manager Kevin Twaddle felt his side froze on the big occasion as East Kilbride netted a late winner to progress to the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup at Saughton Enclosure.
The Lowland League visitors were the last team to inflict a home defeat on Lothian Thistle in the SFA Youth Challenge Cup in April, and although Twaddle’s men gained a measure of revenge in the Image Printers Cup encounter between the sides last month, the Capital outfit could have few complaints as their Cup dreams were ended by Joao Victoria’s 77th-minute strike.
“We didn’t deserve anything from the game today,” said Twaddle.
“It was like the semi-final in the Image Printers Cup against Spartans last season, we just froze on the big occasion and fair play to East Kilbride, they haven’t had to work too hard today to get the win.”
Hutchie had to play the final five minutes with ten men after midfielder Kevin Brown was sent off for a late lunge, but the game was beyond the hosts by that point.
The match was a very tight affair, with both sides struggling to break through their opponents’ defensive rearguard for long periods.
The best chances came in the second half when Craig Hastings’ penalty box effort for the visitors was superbly tipped over by Hutchie’s on-loan keeper Gregor Amos.
At the other end, Callum Connolly hit the bar with a header, but the decisive goal finally arrived seven minutes later when Victoria stabbed in a Gavin Lachlan cross to seal East Kilbride’s passage into Round Two.
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Amos, Crawford, Keane, Connolly, Williams, Munro, McGregor, Brown, Malcolm, Gormley, Hare. Subs: Cairns, Jont, McDonaugh, Swanson, Callan.
East Kilbride: Kean, McGuiness, McLaughlin, Howie, Morris, Lachlan, Mitchell, O’Hara, Victoria, Hastings, Giblin. Subs: Buchanan, O’Hanlon, Tierney, Duncan, Home, Smith.