Kevin Kelbie sparks wild celebrations for Linlithgow Rose

Linlithgow's players celebrate after defeating Forfar. Pic: SNS
Linlithgow's players celebrate after defeating Forfar. Pic: SNS
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Kevin Kelbie’s sensational strike five minutes from time for Linlithgow Rose set up a mouth-watering William Hill Scottish Cup last-16 clash with Premiership Ross County.

The fourth-round replay, abandoned last week due to floodlight failure, looked set to be decided by on penalties until journeyman striker Kelbie struck in extra-time to send a large travelling support barmy wuth a 1-0 win.

Kevin Kelbie's goal proved to be the winner. Pic: SNS

Kevin Kelbie's goal proved to be the winner. Pic: SNS

His goal ensured Rose are the first Junior club to reach the fifth-round of the Scottish Cup and the part-time club now have a glamour tie away to Dingwall outfit County to look forward to.

Former Morton and Stirling Albion hitman Kelbie couldn’t hide his joy after his composed striker past Darren Hill with five minutes remaining sealed the tie, running past the Station Park main stand to take the acclaim for his goal, and he revealed he didn’t know where he got the energy from after an exhausting 115 minutes of action.

“I don’t know where I got the energy to do it from to be honest with you, it was just adrenalin,” said the 30-year-old. “Especially so late on in the game in the closing stages, it was looking like it was going to be the winning goal – I’m very happy.

“My legs were starting to get a wee bit heavy in the first half of extra-time, but you’ve just got to get through it. Everybody else has to do it and fortunately we came out on top.

“It was a great buzz, because it’s the closing stages of the game and you’re thinking to yourself that’s the winning goal. We just had to defend in for the last couple of minutes and thankfully we’ve seen it out. It’s a great feeling.

“It’s certainly exciting for us to go and play Ross County, not just for me but for all the boys and the club. We’ll just go and enjoy it, there’s no pressure on us – we’re not expected to win and we weren’t expected to win last night. We’ll just get our heads down and go forward.”

Rose boss David McGlynn started with four strikers as a mixture of injury and suspension left them stretched – and he had to name two injured players on the visiting bench. Colin Strickland and Tommy Coyne started up front flanked by Conor Kelly and Kelbie.

League One Forfar, seeking just their second victory in 18 matches, started on the front foot, with Michael Dunlop striking the post from Gavin Swankie’s corner kick.

Lithgae didn’t settle well in the opening 20 minutes, with their hosts pushing them back, but Blair Batchelor carved out Rose’s first chance, his run down the right eventually seeing him cut back for the well-placed Andy Shirra to blaze over the bar.

Rose began the second half well and Kelbie’s driven shot from the left almost found the far corner of Hill’s net, before Jamie MacKenzie was inches away from connecting with a Graham Weir corner-kick.

Kelbie then struck the upright with a rasping effort from 25 yards out with Hill beaten, before Forfar midfielder Bryan Hodge then brought out the best in Rose No.1 Ally Adams with a long-range attempt.

Adams had to scamper back to his goal line to make sure Hibs loanee Scott Martin’s header didn’t creep in under his crossbar, the ball bouncing off the top of the upright with just a minute of normal time remaining.

Neither side looked like making the breakthrough in extra-time until Kelbie sidestepped defender Dunlop in the area and produced a moment of quality to curl a shot past Hill.

Substitute Michael Jones could’ve ensured victory two minutes from time as Rose broke on the counter, but his effort was tipped wide by Hill. In the end, it did not matter as Rose made history.

Forfar Athletic : Hill, Baxter, Campbell, Dunlop, O’Brien, Young, Kader (Hay), Hodge, Martin, Swankie, Denholm (Smith).

Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Batchelor, Baptie, MacKenzie, Leiper, Weir, Kelly, Shirra, Strickland (Jones), Coyne, Kelbie.

Referee: J Beaton.

Attendance: 1168.