Sean PAUL RITCHIE turned in a man-of-the-match display as Liberton Thistle routed Alba Thistle 8-0 in the LEAFA Sunday Colin Campbell Cup Final at the Civil Service Ground.
A hat-trick from Chris Flockhart was added to by Craig Anderson’s double and also strikes from John Gallagher, Jason Hood, and Jason Darling, in a match that was every bit as one-sided as the scoreline suggests.
Winger Ritchie played provider for several of his side’s goals, showing outstanding trickery throughout and giving the Alba defence a torrid time down the left flank.
Liberton gaffer Mikey Coleman sung the praises of his entire team at full-time saying: “I thought we were absolutely superb today, to win 8-0 in a cup final is great for anybody. We passed the ball about really well and got at them from the start. It’s been a great season.”
Liberton wasted no time in stamping their authority on the match and were two goals up inside 15 minutes.
Centre-half Jason Darling burst forward to open the scoring on ten minutes. After a long high pass played forward from midfield, Alba keeper Kevin Strachan failed to collect a simple ball, leaving Darling with the easiest of tasks to tap into an empty net.
Striker Jason Hood then doubled Liberton’s advantage, stroking home from close range after being played through nicely by Craig Anderson.
The league champions showed great quality in midfield with Dale Richardson spreading the play at every opportunity. And their dominance saw them go four up before half-time, when Anderson secured a brace within a minute.
His first came after an effort rebounded off the crossbar, leaving an easy tap-in for the frontman. Then, less than a minute later, he doubled his tally by poking the ball home after a scrap inside the penalty area.
The opening half proved so comfortable for Liberton that Darling even had time to play ‘keepy-uppy’ in defence, reminiscent of Jim Baxter’s famous skills against England at Wembley in 1967.
Thistle continued their supremacy after the restart, and were soon five goals to the good. Chris Flockhart headed home after Darling played a free-kick over the Alba defence.
Flockhart should have made it six soon after, but chipped the ball wide of Strachan’s left-hand post.
Alba struggled to gather any momentum in the match, with their only effort at goal coming from a 40-yard strike that was easily saved by Liberton goalkeeper Steven Fraser, who had little part to play throughout.
Forward Flockhart secured his hat-trick by adding Liberton’s sixth and seventh goals, as the score-line became more embarrassing for Alba.
The sixth came after some nice interplay between Thistle’s front three, that saw Anderson slip the ball through to Flockhart. He made no mistake as he rattled home his second of the afternoon.
And his treble was completed on 75 minutes when he tapped home from close range. This time it was star man Ritchie who provided the assist, showing great skill in skipping past Alba right-back Michael Ramage before squaring the ball across the box for Flockhart.
Alba’s misery was further compounded in the dying stages when Liberton bagged their eighth. Again it was tidy play from Ritchie down the left-wing who skipped by the Alba defence before picking out John Gallagher in the box, who duly headed home to secure a memorable victory for Thistle.
Alba Thistle: Kevin Strachan, Michael Ramage, Mark Lamernie, Stuart Innes, Sean Henderson, Tony McGowan, John Smith, Shawn Schofield, Peter Newby, Gordon Wilson, Joe Reid, Colin Black, Dale Saunders, Joe McKenzie, Peter Beagley, Victory Edema.
Liberton Thistle: Steven Fraser, Jon Flockhart, Phil Alexander, Euan Scott, Jack Chaney, Sean Paul Ritchie, Gordon Casey, Jason Darling, Jason Hood, Steven Aitken, Dale Restorick, Dean Coyle, Craig Anderson, John Gallagher, Chris Flockhart, Dale Richardson.