Tynecastle AFC coach Grant Shields was disappointed to see his side bow out in the Scottish Cup fourth round after they narrowly lost 4-3 to Glasgow University at Saughton.
After being 2-0 down at the break, the Premier 2 Division leaders rallied in the second half, putting themselves on the verge of taking the tie to extra time. Their counterparts held on at the end, though, to progress – much to the despair of Shields.
He said: “I thought we were the better team. We were gutsy. We made a few mistakes which we were punished for, and the difference is they’ve taken their chances.
“For the gulf in leagues, I think we put on more than a good show and played some decent football. There are positives to take, especially when you consider the quality of league they play in.”
In what was an excellent game from start to finish. Tynecastle were more than a match for their opponents in the opening stages as they passed the ball around with purpose in search of an opening goal.
They almost got off to the perfect start when, in the fourth minute, a free-kick from the left was met by Russell Johnston at the back post, but his header was straight at Glasgow goalie Andrew Livingstone, who palmed it away.
The hosts were dictating things and came mighty close to breaking the deadlock once again in the 27th minute. A diagonal ball into the box exposed the Glasgow rearguard, finding David Middlemass, who struck a well-hit first-time shot but Livingstone again stood firm and saved well.
Towards the end of the first half, the visitors began to make inroads into the game, disrupting the flow of passing which Tynecastle had so far enjoyed.
After missing a couple of good opportunities, Andrew Pender eventually found the net, giving Glasgow the lead ten minutes before half-time. Sean Dunion did well down the right-hand side before squaring the ball to Pender, who found the goal from the edge of the area.
The away side then grabbed a second minutes later to deal another blow to Tynecastle’s chances of progressing. In a moment of misfortune for the hosts, a misplaced backpass to Neil McArthur in the Tynie goal went straight to Gordon Allan and he kept his composure to double Glasgow’s lead. It was a sucker-punch for the hosts and their task ahead became even harder when they conceded a third just after the break. Pender grabbed another to extend the Caledonian League side’s advantage when he slid in from close range.
Despite conceding, Tynecastle never stopped applying themselves and their efforts eventually paid dividends when they pulled one back ten minutes later. A throw-in from the left-hand side was flicked on to Keith Cairns, who smashed the ball into the bottom corner from five yards.
The visitors seemed to take their foot of the gas going forward and defended deep in an attempt to quell a Tynecastle revival. It looked to be working but, with ten minutes to go, a real sense of hope emerged for the Edinburgh side as they pulled another back when James Spence half-volleyed in to make it 2-3.
With five minutes to go, however, Glasgow again restored their two-goal advantage with a well-taken free-kick from Pender that found the bottom corner for his hat-trick.
Still Tynecastle remained defiant as they sought to take the game to extra-time. They pulled another back to put themselves on the verge of another 30 minutes of play when Cairns again finished well inside the area to set up a grandstand finish.
With minutes to play, sub Rory Russell hit the bar as Tynie came agonisingly close to levelling things, but to their credit Glasgow held firm to deny their opponents in the dying stages.
Tynecastle AFC: Keith Cairns, Stephen Finnie, Joss Froude, Liam Grealis, Russell Johnston, Steven Livingston, Neil McArthur, Paul McLear, David Middlemass, Gary Morrison, Darren Nicholson, Rory Russell, Ross Shields, James Spence, Jason Watson, Ian Wurr.
Glasgow University FC: Andrew Livingstone, David Walls, Robert Fyfe, Lesley Goettermann, Max Wolber, Steven Learmont, Sean Dunion, Paul Gallacher, Andrew Pender, Gordon Allan, Mark Solley, Ian Cameron, Stuart Grieve, Jordan Mitchell.