Quick off the heels of Tuesday night’s 1-0 away win at Forfar in the William Hill Scottish Cup, Lithgae would have been excused for feeling a little jaded, such was the magnitude of that win, but David McGlynn’s men battled hard in tricky conditions to take their place in the next round of Junior football’s blue-riband competition.
“A win for any team in those conditions is a success,” said a delighted McGlynn. “Our defence today was superb today and I don’t know where they get the energy from.”
Unlike their trip to Station Park last Tuesday, Linlithgow this time had players to fill the subs bench. They brought back in Ruari MacLennan and captain Mark Tyrrell – who wasn’t on sausage factory duty – to the line up, with Gary Thom coming in on the bench.
The first half was a tight, sticky contest, with the pitch conditions not ideal for the Rose’s style of football. The Medda were more at ease as the Rose stumbled to find their feet. Neither keeper was really tested as the midfield battle was fought out in the mud.
Linlithgow came out for the second half and showed a changed appetite for the game.
They were soon camped around the Medda’s goalmouth. First Tommy Coyne then Kevin Kelbie had efforts unsettling the home keeper.
Neither side looked like scoring, though, until in a repeat of Linlithgow’s winning goal against Forfar. In the 71st minute after a good move down the right the ball landed at the feet of Blair Batchelor. As in midweek, he again lofted the ball out wide to Graeme Weir and he drove the ball low into the far corner of the net.
Irvine weren’t out of it, and Rose keeper Ally Adams had to be at his best when they did manage a shot at goal.
Rose knew a second goal would finish the game and right in the last minute of regulation time they made sure of the win. A great move down the right again ended with Batchelor again providing the final pass, this time a low cross to Coyne, who, unmarked in the six-yard box, side-footed the ball into the empty net to kill the game.
Linlithgow’s attention can now turn to Saturday and their last 16 William Hill Scottish Cup clash with Ross County, and as their defender Colin Leiper explained, Rose can’t wait to play in one of the biggest matches in the club’s history.
“We now have a game against Ross County, a level I never thought I’d play at and it’s one of the biggest games for most of us,” said Leiper. “We’ve having a terrific season so far with our support giving us the extra hand in big games. They were unbelievable during the games against Wick and Forfar, so we hope we can keep it gong for them.”
Irvine Meadow: Shepherd, Girvan Halliday, Evans, Twaddle, Keenan, McCann, Murch, Barr( Strachan), Dean, Fraser(Maxwell). Subs: Wilson Finnigan, Bolton.
Linlithgow: Adams, Tyrrell, Baptie, McKenzie, Lieper, Manacle, Batchelor, Shirra(Strickland), Kelbie(Thom), Coyne, Weir(McGregor). Subs: Gray, McKinven.