Ben Miller hails Tranent as they reach last eight of Challenge Cup
Perfect birthday present for manager Calvin Shand
Tranent handed boss Calvin Shand the best possible birthday gift as they defeated Broxburn Athletic 4-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup.
Youngster Bradley Barrett was in inspired form for the depleted visitors who were missing several players through injury and suspension, with the teenager bagging a hat-trick, while striker Stephen MacDonald also got on the scoresheet. Broxburn were the better team for stages with their goals coming from John Grant and captain Nick Locke.
Midfielder Ben Miller was key to the victory for Shand’s side as he was instrumental in dictating things in the middle of the park - his performance more so impressive given it was his first game back after a ten-week layoff due to a fractured ankle sustained in a friendly against Hibs back in August.
“It’s been a long ten weeks, so it’s good to be back. I fractured my ankle against Hibs in a friendly in August, so Saturday was my first game back,” he said. “We had a few injuries and suspensions, plus a couple of the boys were cup tied so we only had two people on the bench, then we got a couple of injuries during the game so I couldn’t exactly come off. It made it a better result because we were short in numbers.
“Initially I thought I had done my ligaments and I thought I’d done my Achilles. I tried to stand up after it but I just collapsed, so I knew I had done some damage to it. I went to the hospital and they just said it was badly bruised, then they phoned me a couple of weeks later after they had gone over their X-rays and they said I had done a slight fracture.”
Miller also hailed winger Barrett and has urged him to stay with the club amid interest from higher up, as he continued: “He’s a great wee lad and still so young. He took all his goals really well and he’s been playing well this season; he’s scored some big, big goals for us. He gets on well with everybody, he’s a good wee laugh and he’s good to have in the dressing room.
“We’ve got a great manager who can teach him really well; he’s at a good club to go and improve himself.”
Elsewhere, there was a couple of big casualties in the same competition as both Bonnyrigg and Linlithgow Rose exited at the fourth round with defeats by Dunipace and Camelon respectively. East Kilbride and Kelty Hearts look like being Tranent’s biggest threat of continuing their cup success as they both came out on top in their ties.
In the East of Scotland Premier Division, Musselburgh Athletic dropped to the foot of the table as Sauchie jumped above them with a 2-1 defeat, while Newtongrange Star and Whitehill Welfare also lost to Dundonald Bluebell and Crossgates.
Tynecastle look a sure-fire bet for promotion to the Premier Division as they made it 14 victories from 14 in 1st Division Conference B with a 3-1 defeat of Haddington Athletic as Jordan Smith struck a brace - his first a terrific free-kick - while Dan Greig also netted for Calum Elliot’s side.