LINLITHGOW’S players left the field to a chorus of “Hail, Hail, the gallant Rosey Posey” after they’d claimed their place in the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup Final thanks to a 1-1 draw at the home of holders Shotts.
Shotts Bon Accord 1 - 1 Linlithgow Rose
Linlithgow win 4-2 on aggregate
The second-leg scoreline took the Prestonfield men through 4-2 on aggregate to meet Auchinleck Talbot on June 2 and manager Mark Bradley, whose side remain unbeaten for the season, was thrilled with his troops. He said: “We got a result. It wasn’t the way we wanted to go through, but Shotts made it hard for us.
“I felt Shotts had a fair share of the game. They had to come out in front of their own supporters and get a result. However, we stuck to our task and got the reward we wanted, a place in the final.”
It wasn’t a day for silky soccer as a strong wind blowing down the pitch made it difficult for both sets of players on the vast expanses of Hannah Park.
Shotts started the game kicking against the wind and soon had the Linlithgow defence under pressure as they went hunting for a quick goal. Striker Alan MacKenzie missed a couple of glorious chances, even striking Rose goalkeeper David Hay with an effort when he was grounded.
Linlithgow also had chances with a free kick from Adam Nelson fizzing just over the bar.
The second half saw Linlithgow settle more with Billy Gibson scraping the bar from 20 yards in the 50th minute.
A goal was coming and, three minutes later, it arrived via the penalty spot. Roddy MacLennan was sent crashing to the ground in the box with referee Ross pointing immediately to the spot. After the Shotts players had protested against the decision, Tommy Coyne scored to put the visitors 4–1 up on aggregate.
The pressure was now heavily on the Shotts players and tempers became flared only a couple of minutes later with full back Bryan Wharton sent off for his second booking leaving Shotts with ten men.
The hosts rallied, though, and Andy Scott looped a lob over Hay’s head but hit the bar before seeing the ball cleared by a relieved Linlithgow defence.
Shotts were now pressing hard and, from a corner on the left, Rose striker Coyne had to head the ball off his own line.
Again, a goal had to come and, in the 80th minute, Shotts were level. Steven Maguire sent over a long, diagonal ball to substitute Hugh Kerr unmarked down the left-hand channel. He drove in on goal, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net. Shotts needed to score twice more to force extra time and had ten minutes to do it. This was when Mark Bradley had to use his subs wisely. He sent on Stuart McArthur, who has been over the course before and he was soon in at the thick of it, controlling the pace of the game. Shotts came close a couple of times before the referee blew for full time sending the Linlithgow travelling support into full voice. “I’m delighted for everyone associated with the club,” said manager Bradley. “It was a hard game because they had to come at us because of the lead we had.
“The boys will go out now and have a couple of beers but we have a big game on Saturday against Lochee and that’s the only game we’ll be thinking about this week.
“The players have shown terrific grit and determination since the start of the season and that’s something we should be proud of.”
A disappointed Shotts boss Tony McInally said: “First of all, we congratulate Linlithgow on reaching the final. I have a grievance about the penalty kick. I’m not sure it was a penalty but that’s referees for you.
“We had two teams going for it and unfortunately for us it was Linlithgow who took the honours.
“I was disappointed with the sending-off because there were other tackles that deserved the same. But, I have to say, Linlithgow could win the cup. Mark Bradley has a good side doing the right things with good players who have experience so we wish them all the best in the game against Auchinleck.”
Linlithgow central defender John Ovenstone, admitted he is having the time of his life just now. “This is one of the best seasons of my career,” he enthused. “I’ve been in the seniors scrapping my way around the bottom of the tables and coming here has been terrific for me.
“I believe everyone is enjoying themselves, we’re playing some of the best football we can in the best team around. But we’ll concentrate now on just the next game coming round. I don’t think we played as well as we can on Saturday and there still something in the tank but it’s a season I’ll remember for a long time.”
Shotts Bon Accord: Murdoch, Wharton, Sideserf, Jaconelli, Ferguson, Finnigan, Hanlon, Williamson, MacKenzie, Maguire, Scott. Subs: Burns, Lindsay, McStay, Kerr, Miles.
Linlithgow Rose: Hay, Gibson, Nelson, McKenzie, Ovenstone, Ru MacLennan, Ro MacLennan, Shirra, Strickland, Coyne, Herd, Subs: Tyrrell, Smith, Manson, McArthur, Scott.