The Bonnyrigg Rose supporters battled the freeze to ensure their game got the go ahead and their players rewarded them with a workmanlike performance on the pitch to book their place in the last 16 of the ETHX Energy Scottish Junior Cup.
A hardy bunch of locals and committee members braved sub-zero temperatures at seven o’clock in the morning to help remove covers and snow from New Dundas Park – the covers having been put down six days previously to give the tie every chance of being on.
They weren’t treated to the type of performance which they saw in their last competitive fixture – a 6-0 drubbing of Broxburn Athletic in the Super League – but they’d take some warmth from the fact that they avoided a potential cup upset against their high-flying Premier League opponents to stretch their unbeaten run to 18 games. Getting through to the fifth round was all that mattered to club captain Ross Archibald, the 33-year-old having assisted Wayne McIntosh for a first-half opener before getting himself on the scoresheet after the interval.
“Any cup game is the same, of course you want to play well but it’s just about being in the hat for the next round,” he said. “There was a fair effort that went into getting the game on and I think the boys repaid the people by getting a good result. It was a tough game; they are easily good enough to be in the Super League, they are much better than they were last year and they put us under pressure.
“You are not going to be on top of every game for 90 minutes, they started well and for the first 15 minutes they were the better side, but credit to the boys they dug in and we got ourselves back into the game. We got the goal at a good time and if I had buried the chance I had before half-time we would’ve been in a much better position.”
Lochee ended last season rock bottom of the Super League and they arrived in Midlothian determined to show they were an improved side. They settled quickly, pressing their hosts high up the pitch and passed the ball around better than Rose in the opening 15 minutes.
Greg Kirk must have thought he had given the Dundee outfit the lead after 11 minutes, the defender’s header bouncing off the top of the bar with Rose keeper Michael Andrews stranded.
Striker Scott McComiskie then got a shot away from the edge of the box after good build-up play, his shot looked on target but Rose centre-back Ewan Moyes threw himself in front of the strike to send the ball out for a corner.
Rose gradually started to venture forward themselves, their passes finally clicking into place and with their first attempt on goal they took the lead after 34 minutes. Archibald worked space for himself on the right, his cross found striker Wayne McIntosh some six yards out and he powered a header into the net past keeper Mark Fotheringham.
Archibald was then inches away from doubling their lead after some fine footwork on the edge of the Lochee box. He outfoxed his marker with a delightful turn from Adam Nelson’s through ball and looked set to score, but crashed his effort off the underside of the bar.
When they combined once more seven minutes after the interval, it brought the crucial second goal they craved. Nelson’s long range strike was palmed wide by Fotheringham and the former Linlithgow midfielder curled in the corner kick, which Archibald gleefully took ownership of and nodded home.
Rose were able to settle now and the move of the match almost brought a third to kill off the tie. Alan Horne’s searching ball down the right was taken by striker Kieran McGachie in his stride, he passed inside for Lewis Turner whose disguised reverse pass put Archibald through but Fotheringham spread himself to make the stop.
Lochee were determined to get themselves back into the match and were unlucky not to pull a goal back after 81 minutes. Substitute Paul Blackwood played a quick one-two with David Beedie on the edge of the box and went through one-on-one but Andrews came out to block with his feet.
Rose’s longest serving player Archibald was part of the side which got to the semi-finals of the Junior Cup four years ago, losing out to Auchinleck Talbot on penalties after two legs and he admits they’ll need a lot of luck if they wish to go far in the competition with Super League leaders Rose competing on all fronts.
“Of course you fancy your chances of winning it, but you’ve got to have a bit of luck. You’ve got to have a bit of luck in who you draw, in each individual game with decisions and just with the way the game pans out. But yeah, we are there, we are playing well and we’ve not been beaten in a while.
“We’re full of confidence at the minute, we’ve played most teams with the exception of one or two and we go into every game with belief.”
Rose boss Robbie Horn revealed he’s hopeful of bolstering his squad with a new signing this week, he said: “We’re trying to bring another player in to add to the squad as we’re still a wee bit short on bodies and if we are going to compete in all competitions we are going to have to get more bodies in and be lucky with injuries and suspensions as well. If we can do that then we’ll see how far we can go.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Horne, Donaldson, Stewart, Moyes, Hoskins, Archibald (Kidd), Turner (Gray), McGachie (Tobin), Nelson, McIntosh.
Lochee United: Fotheringham, Kirk, Hay, Cargill, Beedie, Percy (Blackwood), Gallagher, Deasley, McComiskie, Hagan, Webster.