Scottish Cup: Leith held by Colts but chance hasn’t gone

Daniel McKinlay came close for Leith Athletic. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor
Daniel McKinlay came close for Leith Athletic. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor
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Leith Athletic boss Derek Riddel felt his side had the chances to win their goalless William Hill Scottish Cup first-round tie against Cumbernauld Colts at Ainslie Park.

The visitors played the last half hour with ten men after Mark Batchelor’s dismissal, but Athletic just couldn’t find the winner before their own Kerr Allan was shown a straight red in stoppage time. The sides will fight it out again at Broadwood next midweek.

“We probably could have won it, but they’re a good side,” said Riddel. “I thought we maybe gave them a wee bit too much respect first half, but second half we really grew in confidence and I wished we’d played like that in the first half and we may have got more. We’ve hit the post, we’ve hit the bar and both keepers made great saves so we do it all again a week on Wednesday.”

Leith stopper Iain Gordon did brilliantly when he was called in to action, spreading himself well to block Black’s shot from point-blank range after Selkirk had sent Stephen O’Neill’s cutback in to his path.

It wasn’t backs-to-the-wall stuff, but Leith were struggling to make a real impact in the final third. Scott Wilson’s direct run from deep was dangerous, but his wayward shot sailed over as the teams headed in at the break level.

Attempts on goal were few and far between, but Gordon again did well shortly after the restart to palm away Craig Murray’s strike from the angle of the box.

Selkirk then spurned the best chance of the game for the visitors. O’Neill showed good skill down the right before drilling the ball low in to the middle. Selkirk got across his man, but blazed well over from close range.

Leith almost took full advantage immediately. Wilson’s free-kick fell kindly for James Hainey and the striker’s low shot was destined for the net with Chris Fahey beaten, only to be cleared off the line at the near post.

Daniel McKinlay then had a sight of goal after being played in by Hainey, but the former Whitehill Welfare man didn’t connect properly and Fahey gathered.

Things looked to have swung in Leith’s favour after Batchelor’s dismissal for felling Hainey and earning a second yellow. That changed the complexion of the game, with Colts happy to sit back and see it out, inviting Leith to attack. Gavin Kneeshaw connected well with Kyle Fee’s delivery, but couldn’t keep his header on target.

Riddel’s men couldn’t have come any closer when first McKinlay’s deflected effort was tipped on to the bar by Fahey, then Dan McFarlane did brilliantly to head John Ferguson’s follow-up header off the line. Fahey had to look lively again to prevent Willson’s free-kick from finding the top corner.

Allan’s straight red for a cynical chop as Cumbernauld looked to launch a counter prompted a scuffle between opposing players.

Riddel was philosophical about the decision. “Probably the height of it was the issue, but it’s a tackle he had to make,” insisted the Leith boss. “It’s disappointing he misses the replay as does their boy. Towards the end, one of their guys has thrown a punch but the ref’s not seen it – it’s difficult.

“We’ll be in for a tough game through there.

“We’re confident, though – they’ve never beaten us over ninety minutes. They beat us in extra-time last year e so we’ve held our own against one of the top Lowland League sides so I’m pleased with the guys.”

Leith Athletic: Gordon, Black, Fee, Lowson, Melvin, Mason (Beaton 21), McKinlay, Wilkie (Allan 65), Hainey, Kneeshaw (Ferguson 79), Wilson.

Cumbernauld Colts: Fahey, Batchelor, Kirwin, McFarlane, Ward, Pirrie (Broadfoot 68), Ronald (Tennant 72), Murray, Selkirk, Black (Ballantyne), O’Neill.