Bonnyrigg Rose striker Wayne McIntosh struck a lethal double to help down local rivals Newtongrange 3-0 and then set his sights on producing the goods to shock Scottish Cup holders Hibs.
The 31-year-old’s second-half brace secured all three points before defender Dean Hoskins added a third at the death from the penalty spot in the only junior game to get the go-ahead in the East Region.
Rose were desperate to get the game played ahead of hosting Hibs at Tynecastle in their showpiece fourth-round tie this Saturday. They now go into the visit of Neil Lennon’s side in buoyant mood and will no doubt play without fear as they did in the third round against Dumbarton.
“I feel like it’s been a bit of a stop-start season for me, so I was delighted to get the two goals,” said McIntosh. “I had a wee injury when I fractured a bone in my foot [at the end of November] and that set me back a few weeks, then over the Christmas period I fell ill with the flu so I missed about a week and a half.
“I never made training and I missed a couple of friendlies, so it was hard going. I’ve been doing extra stuff myself to get my fitness back up, but you need games to get match fitness and I feel I’m getting up to there now. I think I’ve given myself a good chance for Saturday, so I’m chuffed. Getting two goals and a full 90 minutes under my belt gives me half a chance going into the Hibs game.”
A boyhood Hearts fan, McIntosh will live out his dream by playing in front of a sell-out Tynecastle this weekend. The prolific frontman has already scored a hat-trick against Hibs at Tynecastle before – his treble helping a Hearts fans’ side to beat their Hibs equivalent 8-1 in a Rivals4Charity encounter in 2014.
McIntosh continued: “When I played there before it was a Hibs and Hearts charity match with big Kiddo [Andrew Kidd]. I scored a hat-trick that day. It was only in front of a couple of hundred folk, never mind 13,000, and it was brilliant that day.
“If it is going to be my last season, playing against Hibs at Tynecastle, it doesn’t get any better than that.
“It’s a massive game for us, it’s the biggest game of my life and for all the boys. We’ll just go out and enjoy the day, go about our business and see what happens.
“It’s just a game, it’s eleven v eleven. We’ve got a good bunch of boys in there, boys that are good players and who could play at a higher level no problem at all and we showed that against Dumbarton.”
McIntosh’s whole family are Tynecastle-bound to support him, although the forward doesn’t know who his 14-year-old son McKenzie will be cheering on.
He said: “My oldest laddie McKenzie is a Hibby and he’s going to the game. He’s going to be in the Bonnyrigg end, but I don’t know who he’ll be cheering on. My mum, my wife and my kids are all coming to watch – the talk about it is unbelievable and people are still wanting tickets, my phone still hasn’t stopped. Everyone is wanting to come and watch. It’s going to be a brilliant day out for the club.”
A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in memory of Shaun Woodburn, who was tragically killed on Hogmanay, the defender having played for both clubs.
McIntosh should have put Rose ahead on 28 minutes after being teed up by Johnny Brown but he pulled his shot just wide of the far post.
The striker made no mistake when the chance presented itself again, four minutes into the second half, as he lashed home from eight yards out on the rebound after Kerr Young’s header was cleared off the line.
The visitors looked for a route back into the game and, after good interplay between Lee Currie and Jack Wilson, they might’ve got it, but Wilson’s ball into the area couldn’t pick out a black shirt.
And straight away they were punished as Brown sent the ball across goal for McIntosh who steadied himself before firing in to the bottom corner.
Star defender Brian Murray was shown a second yellow card when he brought down Lewis Turner in the box and Hoskins, who missed a penalty last week, made no mistake.
The result leaves Newtongrange still just four points above the foot of the table having played more games than the teams around them.
Manager Stevie McLeish says his side need to have more belief about them: “We competed up until they scored the first goal, but once they scored we didn’t look like we were going to be any match for them at all. We didn’t believe we couldn’t get back into the game, which is disappointing because we had the ability to get back into it.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Archibald (Brown), Donaldson, Young, Hoskins, Horne, Gray, Kidd (Turner), McGachie (McLaren), Nelson, McIntosh.
Newtongrange Star: Amos, Swaney, Murray, Martyniuk, Currie, Morris (Cropley), Wilson, O’Brien (Lally), Lander, Richardson, Bracks.