Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale’s Scottish Cup goal hero Willis Hare was not surprised to see his team-mates dump League Two Montrose out of The William Hill Scottish Cup at Links Park on Tuesday night.
Many observers had written off Lothian’s chances for the second round replay after a 1-1 draw at Saughton Enclosure in the first game, the task made significantly harder by the absence of defender Grant Munro, midfielder Eddie Mearns and striker Scott Moffat.
But the East of Scotland League Champions were not fazed by the challenge presented by Paul Hegarty’s side, who currently sit second in League Two, and substitute Hare wrote himself into the Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale history books with an extra time winner to secure a third-round trip to Huntly.
“It was a thoroughly deserved win for us,” he said. “Raymond (Carr) brought me on just to tire their defence out a bit, but to score a goal in the manner in which we did was just an unbelievable feeling and it’s a result that the boys will cherish for a long time.”
“We knew that people were writing us off and with Grant, Eddie and Scott all out, we were missing the spine of our normal starting XI, but our application and passing was excellent. We didn’t allow them too much time on the ball, and apart from a nervous ending in extra time, Kevin Swain hasn’t had to make too many saves.”
Hare also reserved special praise for team mate Scott Taylor-McKenzie, who excelled in the left back berth. “Scott has got tremendous ability, he can defend well but he’s not afraid to take people on and I thought he was the man of the match last night.”
“I think some people also thought we’d struggle on the 3G surface because we play on grass at Saughton, but we train every Tuesday and Thursday on the 3G surface at Riccarton.”
Hare now wants to see his side replicate their cup form in The East of Scotland League with Lothian currently sitting in third place with 18 points with three games in hand.
“The next league game against Duns is the most important one because you can’t get into the Scottish Cup if you don’t win the league so that has to be our priority,” added Hare.
“But when confidence is high after a result like last night, we’d fancy our chances against a few teams that are playing at a few levels above us, and it’s great for everyone connected with the club.”