THE Scottish Shield dream for Firrhill High School’s senior boys’ team is over after they crashed out of the competition at the last-16 stage, defeated 5-2 by Greenfaulds.
The visitors from Cumbernauld were dominant in the second half of the fifth-round tie at Meggetland after an even first period in which Firrhill had taken an early lead.
Firrhill’s captain Gavin Birrell gave the all-greens the lead from the penalty spot on ten minutes after striker William Kerr had been tripped inside the box. Birrell, who was set to be in Scottish Cup action today for his club North Merchiston Under-19s, had just enough on his spot-kick to get past Greenfaulds Matthew McCrae, who got a hand to the strike, but couldn’t keep it out.
Greenfaulds went close to an equaliser soon after when Mark Johnston’s free-kick looked to be sneaking into the bottom corner, only for Firrhill keeper Cameron Tulloch to tip wide with an outstretched arm.
It was only from set-pieces that Greenfaulds looked threatening though, with Firrhill’s defence lapping up anything that the visitors could muster from open play. Central-defensive partners Birrell and Sam Leslie looked assured together at the back.
Firrhill were close to doubling their lead ten minutes before the interval. From Danny Brooks’ free-kick on the right wing, Murray McDermott glanced a header just wide of the post.
Top goalscorer Jake Macdonald came even closer to getting a second for Firrhill minutes later after a well-worked move. Kerr played his team-mate in who had made an intelligent run in behind Greenfaulds defence, and after cutting in from the right with a quick turn, he shot goalwards, but a defender did well to block the shot.
Directly from this chance, Greenfaulds ran up the other end and got their equaliser with five minutes of the half remaining. Firrhill were too slow in getting back to defend, and they were left ruing the missed opportunity as a long ball found Johnston on the line of the last defender who scampered in before lifting the ball over the advancing Tulloch and into the net.
Firrhill could’ve stolen back their lead thanks to an own goal late in the first half after Ryan Clarke’s driven cross flashed across goal. Greenfaulds defender Ryan Kinlan almost put the ball in his own net at the back post, but managed to squeeze it out for a corner.
Greenfaulds looked a different team early in the second half, and it wasn’t long before they took the lead for the first time. Kinlan swept in a cross to the back post which Kieran Brass threw himself at, to crash a header past Tulloch and into the net. Macdonald came close to an equaliser for Firrhill on 63 minutes, after Joe Turner-Law fed Clarke, who set up Macdonald. The midfielder’s angled strike was heading in, until McCrae tipped over well. Birrell then brought out McCrae’s best when his strike amongst a packed penalty area was pushed clear from close range.
With 20 minutes remaining, Greenfaulds got a crucial third. The Cumbernauld side were truly ruthless in front of goal and Fraser Sheridan’s strike epitomised their clinical streak as he held the ball up well on the edge of the box before rattling into the goal on the turn.
The majority of Firrhill’s players looked to have given up hope as Greenfaulds maintained their two-goal lead until 15 minutes to go. For any player who still believed they could get back into the tie, their hopes were quashed as the away side got their fourth. Jamie Barjonas played in Andrew Barrie who curled the ball round Tulloch and over the line.
Greenfaulds were showing Firrhill little mercy as they made it five late on, when striker Johnston turned on the edge of the box and prodded the ball home. Macdonald then salvaged a consolation in the final minute.
Firrhill: Cameron Tulloch, Scott Hannah, Callum McGowan, Sam Leslie, Gavin Birrell, Murray McDermott, Jake Macdonald, Danny Brooks, Ryan Clarke, William Kerr, Joe Turner-Law, Cameron Macpherson, Angus Luff, Allan Petticrew, Lewis Ross, Dennis Wild.