Dalkeith Thistle striker Cammy Leslie bags hat-trick to stun Linlithgow Rose and own boss in Roy of the Rovers comeback

Dalkeith Thistle boss Jock Landells described his team’s comeback victory over Linlithgow Rose in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup as “Roy of the Rovers” stuff as they came from 3-1 behind at half-time to win 4-3 at Prestonfield.

Dalkeith Thistle players celebrate their winning goal at Prestonfield
Dalkeith Thistle players celebrate their winning goal at Prestonfield

Twenty-one-year-old striker Cammy Leslie was the Dalkeith hero as he netted a hat-trick against a strong Rose side who hadn’t been beaten at home since August.

It looked like Rose were on the way to a comfortable victory in the first match of the rejigged competition which has been split into 12 groups. Goals from Jamie Allan, Conor McKenzie and Mark Stowe had Rose in command at the interval, with Leslie’s effort having initially brought the visitors level.

However, in an incredible second half turnaround, Leslie made it 3-2 with half an hour remaining, only for Michael Lennie’s header to bring them level two minutes later. Leslie then popped up with the winner with seven minutes to go.

“We were just looking to come away with a bit of respect that you’ve tired your best,” said Landells. “Some of the young lads it was their first time playing at Linlithgow so I just told them to go and enjoy the experience.

“Going through there is daunting for most clubs not just Dalkeith Thistle, I think we are about 30 places behind them in the league standings.

“We knew what we were going through to. They are a fantastic side and even when I first played football it’s always been a great place to go and play football. I’d won a few times as a player but never as a coach or as a manager.

“The players played without any fear, they just went there to go and enjoy the game. I don’t think the committee were looking forward to going through there!

“Our away form has been terrible this year to go and win 4-3 at Linlithgow is even more incredible, because we have shedded some goals. Football is a funny old game.

“Somebody text me about half 1 on Saturday to tell me we were 18/1. I’m not a gambling man but I thought we would be about 100/1. I don’t think anyone would have put money on us, that’s for sure.

“We’ve got a young side and this is a game which they will hopefully remember for a long time.”

Landells hailed Leslie and revealed his mad dash to get a goalkeeper after Shea Dowie was ruled out.

A screengrab of Cammy Leslie sliding home left-footed to complete a memorable hat-trick

He added: “Cammy broke his leg back in 2019 at Edinburgh United. It was a really bad one which took him a year to get back from and then we had the pandemic so he didn’t play for a long time.

“I don’t want to single any of the boys out, as they were all incredible, but I can’t recall many players going to Linlithgow and scoring a hat-trick. It’s kind of Roy of the Rovers stuff to be fair.

“I had to scramble for a goalie last week as our usual keeper Shea Dowie was out. We managed to get Mark Anderson in from Bonnyrigg Rose 20s just for Saturday.

“He’s a big guy with great potential who has been on the bench for Robbie Horn for the last 12 months or so. He did really well, I couldn’t blame him for any of the goals.”

Linlithgow assistant boss John Millar said: “It was not an acceptable performance or result. The standard of the goals were shocking.

“Credit to Dalkeith. They battled brilliantly and caused us a lot of trouble. The trouble their number 9 gave out back four was incredibly worrying.”

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