Amateurs: Tollcross win battle of the Thistles in Scottish Cup

Tollcross Thistle demolished their opponents from Stirlingshire with Chris Cairns claiming the match ball
Tollcross Thistle demolished their opponents from Stirlingshire with Chris Cairns claiming the match ball
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Tollcross Thistle stormed into the fifth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup with a comprehensive 6-2 victory over Callander Thistle at Saughton 3G.

Five goals had been scored by the interval, with Tollcross leading 4-1. And Chris Cairns went on to secure the match ball in a thoroughly deserved 6-2 victory.

Tollcross manager Alan McKay said: “It was our joint best performance of the season. It’s great when the things we have worked on at training click on a match day.”

The Stirlingshire side got things underway on what was a frosty winter afternoon on the artificial pitch. Tollcross were the better side in the early stages and they made it count with a goal nine minutes in. A quick break down the left allowed Chris Cairns space to run at right-back Callum Smith. The winger beat his man, cut into the area and slammed the ball into the bottom right corner.

It was the ideal start for Tollcross and it might well have been 2-0 just minutes later but Stefan Hay hit the upright from Scott Millar’s free-kick.

Callander were way off the pace compared to their opponents and it was obvious to all those watching. Cairns may well have had his brace and his side’s second as a drilled ball in from Millar fell to the No.11, but Callander goalie Gordon Campbell saved low to his right.

Another goal was inevitable with Tollcross in the ascendency and with 15 minutes of the half remaining it came to fruition. Jason Bell showed his goalscoring instinct in the box with a tidy finish to make it 2-0.

It was all Tollcross and, having just scored, Bell was celebrating again just 60 seconds later. A loose ball in the box fell to the striker and he made no mistake.

At 3-0 Tollcross had one foot in the fifth round but Callander scored out of nowhere. Craig Sharp ran on to a ball down the right to hit a half-volley from an almost impossible angle into the Tollcross goal. It was either pure genius or sheer good fortune but it jolted the Edinburgh side.

Tollcross showed resilience and responded with a goal. A flowing move involving Ciaran Duffy and Millar ended with Stefan Hay steering the ball in from seven yards out. At 4-1 they could go into the break with their heads held high.

After the interval Tollcross were well on top. Despite the scoreline they didn’t change their game plan, maintaining a high pressure, attacking approach. There was little Callander could do to prevent Tollcross from dominating but once again the visitors somehow managed to sneak in a goal from out of the blue. A hopeful ball forward from the Callander rearguard put Grant Craig in behind the defence and he fired under keeper John Nisbet to reduce the arrears.

Having been comfortable, Tollcross just started to look a bit unsettled with 25 minutes remaining. Callander looked to capitalise with some patient attacking play but they couldn’t make it count. As time went on it was clear Tollcross weren’t going to slip up and they rounded off the scoring as substitute Michael Hornig buried the ball inside the box with quick feet, before Cairns completed his hat-trick.

Tollcross Thistle: John Nisbet, Rees Allan, Jason Bell, Patrick Bonthrone, Chris Cairns, Nick Coull, Ciaran Duffy, Hamish Flett, Stefan Hay, Lee Heinemeier, Michael Hornig, Greig Jardine, Scott Millar, Sean Mossman, Graham Nisbet, Stewart O’Neil

Callander Thistle: Gordon Campbell, Gary Carson, Grant Craig, Matthew Cullen, Kenny Ferguson, Robert Fraser, Ian McConnell, David McLean, Richard Neumann, Craig Sharp, Alastair Smith, Callum Smith, Chris Stevenson, Jamie Stirling