Scott Allan to become even better, glaring flaw in Hearts manager's gameplan, Musselburgh's cup final hat-trick hero - this weekend's winners and losers
The best and the worst of football involving Lothian clubs this past weekend.
Scott Allan (Hibs)
The fans favourite has had a strong season so far, especially in light of some trying circumstances (mainly, his team was rubbish for several months). He was probably the only summer signing to get pass marks prior to Paul Heckingbottom's dismissal, and one of few players at the club overall. And yet, there is still room for him to get even better under new boss Jack Ross. In Saturday's match with Motherwell, the playmaker, often frustrated by a lack of movement ahead of him earlier in the campaign, was lavished with options in which to pick the lock of the visiting rearguard. An attack previously shackled by an overly fastidious approach from the previous manager went at Motherwell with a renewed sense of freedom. Centre midfielders Joe Newell and Vykintas Slivka energetically supported the front two, while Jason Naismith and Lewis Stevenson pushed up aggressively from full-back. When Allan came deep to collect he was greeted with four, five, sometimes six team-mates in advanced areas in which to choose from. Watching Hibs is already much more entertaining.
Newell, Naismith, Christian Doidge, Melker Hallberg, all four of them impressed on Saturday having been previously written off by sections of the support earlier this season. It made it two solid performances in a row for the foursome as well, following the 4-1 win at St Johnstone a fortnight ago. After last season's turnaround and this campaign's early struggles, it was assumed that Heckingbottom had flooded his squad with players of inferior quality, and that was ultimately his downfall. Instead, it now seems that he had a decent eye for talent, he just didn't know how to get a tune out of them.
Zander Miller (Broxburn Athletic)
The striker netted a late stunner to defeat Inverurie Loco Works and put Broxburn into the fourth round, where they were drawn against Premiership side St Mirren. That goal helped create this terrific video of Broxburn supporters going absolutely mental behind the goal. It also helped create this equally terrific video of the players celebrating in the dressing room after the game. "ZANDER'S ON FIRE, YOUR DEFENCE IS TERRIFIED!"
Ewan Moyes (Bonnyrigg Rose)
After their stunning upset over League One Montrose, Bonnyrigg's official Twitter account said that "everyone" was man of the match for the East of Scotland side from the 2-1 win. While undoubtedly a nice gesture, a more accurate tweet would have said that centre-back Ewan Moyes was the stand-out in the victory. The former Hibs man was a rock at the heart of the defence and netted the opening goal. And just to make things that little bit more special it was his 150th game for the club.
Darren Downie (Musselburgh Athletic)
The Burgh are Alex Jack Cup winners for 2019/20 after a stunning turnaround in their bout with Oakley United. The opponents from Dunfermline led 1-0 at the break and had missed an earlier penalty. However, the roof came crashing down in the second period as Athletic ran riot, going 4-1 up before settling for a 4-2 victory. Downie was the hero of the hour, netting a hat-trick to ensure the cup was coming back to East Lothian. His opener was the most impressive of the three goals as he managed to take a cross from the right and squeeze a shot beyond the keeper and in off the back post from a narrow angle.
Partick Thistle fans
"Every one of those players should hang there heads in shame, they are an embarrassment to professional football! Struggling to beat Penicuik ffs and hanging on at the end!"
"Utter crap. Very few of them are worth keeping. They’re either p**h or p**h and gutless."
"I started pretending I was a Penicuik fan. It was amazing watching a team who looked like they give a t**s."
Penicuik may have lost the match at Partick Thistle, going down 1-0, but it was the amazing away support, with over 1,300 at the game, who went home the happier of the two fanbases. If you can't win a game of football, then forcing the opposition support into an absolute fit of rage is a decent consolation prize.
Putting them in the losers category for going down 4-1 to Falkirk is probably harsh, but while it didn't look like a particularly bad result on Friday, given the number of shocks that took place involving non-league sides and League One clubs on Saturday they will probably feel they could have done better. In addition to Bonnyrigg's victory, BSC Glasgow came from 3-1 down to defeat East Fife 4-3 away from home. In fairness to Linlithgow, they were dealt a significant blow in the lead up to their tie when they discovered Falkirk were no longer managed by Ray McKinnon.
Austin McPhee (Hearts)
The interim manager's chances of getting the gig on a full-time basis were dealt a significant blow on Saturday after his side lost to Kilmarnock. Any defeat to the Ayrshire men would have severely reduced MacPhee's chances, so to lose in the manner Hearts did was especially disheartening for the former assistant coach. The away side were embarrassed with three goals conceded in the opening 16 minutes. What makes matters worse is that MacPhee's gameplan contributed heavily to their immediate downfall. Essentially, every goal conceded was a counter attack. This was most evident in the third goal, which came straight from a Hearts set-piece. But although the other two didn't come direct from Hearts 'attacks' necessarily, the plan to push high up the pitch in order to press the hosts left big gaps between the midfield and defence and offered little to no protection for the back four. Individual errors were made, of that there is no doubt, but MacPhee was far from blameless.