Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale defied the odds at Saughton Enclosure to claim a place in The William Hill Scottish Cup second round at the expense of East Region Super League winners Kelty Hearts – and ruin one punter’s £900 bet.
It was a disciplined performance from the East of Scotland Champions against the Junior champions.
The Capital side went in at the interval with a surprise 2-0 lead thanks to a Darren Smith penalty and a Richie Wilkes goal on the stroke of half time.
Although Kelty pressed for a route back into the tie in the second half, a well marshalled Lothian defence stood firm and they put the seal on a famous win in the closing minutes when substitute John Ross Kerr netted the third goal.
Lothian manager Raymond Carr said: “After a nervous start, we came back just before half time and getting the two goals meant that they had to chase the game.”
“They never really created any clear-cut chances and Kevin Swain has had to deal with some curling balls into the area, but he hasn’t had to make any important saves.
“It took 14 men including the substitutions that we made to win the game, it was a superb team effort and we defended very well at the back with Grant Munro, Paul Crawford, Richie Wilkes and Scott-Taylor McKenzie all tremendous.
“I believe there was one guy who put £900 on Kelty to win so he might be phoning me up soon to ask for the lottery numbers, but we know we are capable of beating anyone here and the draw will take care of itself.”
With the visitors backed by a strong travelling support, early chances for Kelty strikers Calum Smith and Stuart Cargill went just wide and Lothian took the lead from the penalty spot on 33 minutes through Smith after Murray Carstairs fouled Scott Gormley inside the area.
Moments after Smith had a close-range shot from inside the box held by goalkeeper Swain, Lothian were in dreamland when Wilkes evaded his marker to turn and fire a low drive into the corner from a Kevin Brown corner.
Kelty brought on Shaun Greig for the start of the second half and, with Scott Gates causing problems down the left wing, the visitors were unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty when Wilkes climbed on top of Cargill with Paul Currie firing narrowly over.
But the hosts made some key substitutions with 20 minutes to go, Willis Hare was introduced to add pace up front alongside John Ross Kerr who made his debut following his midweek signing.
With just five minutes to go, Lothian broke up the field and Kerr slotted home from close range and any hopes of a comeback from the Junior outfit were extinguished.
Lothian captain Grant Munro was delighted with the display and felt a strong midfield performance was also key towards booking a second round tie on October 24. “It was important to stay strong defensively but the midfield worked their socks off as well, we had two banks of four and as long as we kept it tight we knew we’d always be in with a chance of winning it,” he said.
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Swain, Crawford, Taylor-McKenzie, Wilkes, Munro, Mearns, Cummings, Smith, Moffat (Kerr), Gormley (Hare), Brown (Moore). Subs; McDonaugh, O’Donnell, Joint.
Kelty Hearts: Allison, Carstairs, Gates, Leighton, T.Courts, C.Courts, Husband (Greig), Currie, Smith, Cargill, McCabe (Bremner). Subs; Dalziel, Hughes, Jacobs, O’Reilly, Penman.