Bathgate Thistle 0
BATHGATE boss Derek Strickland admitted his side “weren’t at the races” as Clydebank trounced his side in the first round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup. The game was over as a contest after a sizzling first 45 minutes in which the West Super League outfit blitzed their Premier League hosts with three goals.
Strickland said: “We weren’t at the races. A game like this just shows how far we still have to go if we are to get back where we feel we belong.
“The better team won on the day and I’m disappointed we couldn’t hold them at least until half-time.
“The game was over as a contest after the second goal went in. We now have to concentrate on the rest of the season and promotion.”
The Bankies came flying out of the traps, forcing the Bathgate defence onto their heels from the kick off.
The home side conceded four free-kicks in the opening five minutes, all of which saw Clydebank threaten with the last effort starting off the scoring. Ross McPherson, some 25 yards out, curled a beauty of a free-kick into the top corner to give the visitors a deserved lead.
That was the start of what turned out to be an impressive spell of football.
Bathgate keeper Andy Murphy showed his mettle with a series of fine saves as Clydebank turned the screw but,in the 25th minute, the visitors doubled their lead with a large slice of luck.
They worked the ball down the right with Vince Berry hitting the bye line. His effort took deflections off Calum Scott and Colin Leiper before wrong-footing Murphy in the Bathgate goal and rolling over the line.
Seven minutes later and they had a third goal. Clydebank left winger, Ian Gold, who was a constant menace to a struggling Bathgate defence, squirmed his way into the box before being sent crashing to the ground by Keith Hogg for a penalty. Gordon Moffat stepped up and smashed the ball home.
The second half saw Clydebank step off the gas a little with the main excitement coming from a section of the travelling support setting off fireworks and throwing them into the Bathgate net to the obvious distraction of keeper Murphy.
A fourth goal for Clydebank arrived in the 70th minute courtesy of another penalty. Leiper brought down McPherson and was booked for the challenge. Moffat stepped up again and smashed his second of the afternoon past Murphy.
Five minutes later, Bathgate were reduced to ten men when Lee Johnstone was red carded for elbowing his marker.
Behind by four and down to ten men, Bathgate then had probably their best spell. They didn’t really give Clydebank keeper Robert Hamilton much to do but he did produce a fine save from Marco Andrioni’s free-kick as the final whistle drew near. The action wasn’t finished though as referee Michael Taylor sent off Clydebank’s penalty hero Moffat for a soft last-man tackle to leave the sides with ten apiece.
Home manager Strickland added: “I knew how hard it was going to be when I came here so I’m under no illusions.
“I didn’t expect us to win but I wanted us to be in it longer than we did. They have a settled side whereas we have had to turn everything round in a short spell. We were poor on and off the ball and we’ll have to learn from that.
“I thought the first penalty was right but the second was dubious. They were always going to be the better team so we can’t complain. Our focus now is the league and the players have been told that.”
Bathgate: Murphy, Scott, Lamie, Hogg, Leiper, McCulloch (Fallon), Livingstone, R Johnstone, L Johnstone, Andrioni, Byrne (Bonnes). Subs: Brazil, Chilton, McSween.
Clydebank: Hamilton, Bell (Hailstones), Paterson, Martin, McInnes, Moffat, Allum, Berry, R McPherson, Graham (Andrew), Gold (Clark). Subs: Campbell, C McPherson.