Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith insisted his side’s defending must improve ahead of an important couple of weeks for the Prestonfield club.
Smith must be thankful he has such a dangerous forward line, as Tommy Coyne got Rose out of a hole with an excellent hat-trick to take his Super League tally to ten, despite a below-par showing from Rose.
With this weekend’s Junior Cup second-round tie away to South Division high-flyers Haddington preceding their William Hill Scottish Cup third-round match at home to Championship club Raith Rovers, Smith says their defence better shape up quickly.
“There are not really some words to describe the defending for the two goals we conceded,” bemoaned Smith.
“For the first goal, one Carnoustie player seemed to go through three or four bodies which ran by him. That’s not good enough – you’re usually standing watching schoolboy football when that happens.
“We need to be wary that when we’re playing here, teams that you know on paper that you should be far better than are making it difficult for us.
“If you start these games well you can get yourself ahead early and knock their enthusiasm, whereas we were giving them more encouragement as the half was going on.
“It wasn’t acceptable in the first half and I know they are far better than that. I stressed to the players that I hoped their mind wasn’t on two weeks from now, because that’s irrelevant at the moment.”
Carnoustie went ahead with the first effort on target after 15 minutes. Left winger Sam Simpson was given free reign down the left wing for the visitors, and he cutback for Rori Bews who side-footed into Michael McKinven’s bottom corner – the keeper expecting the shot to go wide.
Rose were lacking creativity in the centre-midfield area with Andy Shirra, Ruari MacLennan and Blair Batchelor all missing. Striker Coyne, alongside Colin Strickland up front, had to drop deeper to make things happen for the home side.
Coyne put Rose level on 19 minutes after finding space on the left. Left back Ritchie McKillen played him in down the wing, and Coyne cut inside before placing a shot inside Carnoustie keeper Neil Ferrie’s near post.
Strike partner Strickland almost instantly put Rose in front, but he flashed a shot wide of the post from inside the box.
Carnoustie seized the lead once more just short of the half hour. Rose were slack in conceding possession in their own half and right winger Marc Scott took advantage – whipping in a lovely cross onto the head of Roddy Black who nodded past goalkeeper McKinven.
Their lead was short lived however, as Rose responded direct from kick-off – Coyne’s precise cross finding Strickland who hit the net from six yards out.
Carnoustie came close to regaining their lead for the third time ten minutes before the interval. Scott jinked his way to the edge of the box and curled a strike towards the inside of McKinven’s right-hand post, but he flung out a hand to push wide.
Roddy MacLennan then missed a guilt-edged chance to put Rose in front. The pacey winger strode clear of his marker to go one-on-one with Ferrie, but instead of taking a shot, MacLennan tried to round the keeper and the chance was lost.
Rose began the second half much better and former Dundee United Scottish Cup winner Garry Kenneth had to clear off the line from Coyne’s strike.
The home side were awarded a penalty on 71 minutes after Francis Kelly was brought down under Mark Kohler’s challenge, and Coyne converted for his second of the afternoon to put Rose ahead for the first time.
Rose made sure of all the points in the final ten minutes. Coyne sealed his second hat-trick this season with his best finish of the afternoon after taking a pass inside from Calum Smith, he took a touch before picking his spot and sent a delicate strike past Ferrie.
Substitute Kevin Kelbie added a fifth for Rose on 84 minutes with a free header from Adam Nelson’s corner kick.
Linlithgow Rose: McKinven, Thom (Kelbie), McKillen, O’Byrne, Ovenstone, Nelson, Kelly(Trailist), Tyrell, Strickland, Coyne, MacLennan (Smith).
Carnoustie Panmure: Ferrie, Cook, Kohler, Millar, Robertson, Kenneth, Scott, Black, Bews, Smith (Neath), Simpson.