East of Scotland League Cup-winning manager Derek Riddel was thrilled to see his Leith Athletic side claim their first piece of silverware this season – but only after he’d torn them to shreds for an insipid first-half display against an industrious Tynecastle outfit.
A James Hainey header and Robbie Mason penalty complimented a much-improved second period from the league champions, who had fallen behind to a well-placed finish from Tynie striker Pieyam Khosrowpour.
But Riddel conceded his players fell way short of the standards he has become accustomed to.
“I thought we were terrible in the first half and I made that clear to the guys at the interval,” he explained. “I wasn’t shouting or screaming, I just told them what they were doing wrong and that we needed to put more pressure on them higher up the park.
“I think every game we’ve played against Tynecastle this season they’ve gone a goal up so we done well to come back considering we never played well.
“Cup finals aren’t always classics but it’s about winning and getting a trophy. They took a lot of criticism at half-time so hopefully it’s just the first of three trophies for us with the league and King Cup to come.”
Admittedly, Leith will have to play with far greater intent when they visit Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale on Saturday for what is a last-day league title decider. In truth, Tynie should have been out of sight by the break as Mark Leslie headed wide of the target before Louis Swanson’s audacious strike from 30 yards clipped the top of goalkeeper Iain Gordon’s crossbar.
There was a moment of contention as Khosrowpour thought he’d opened the scoring only for the assistant referee to rule his effort out for offside despite the ball having ricocheted into the frontman’s path via a Leith defender.
However, the striker wasn’t to be denied as he fired Tynie into a well-deserved lead six minutes before the interval with a fine run and finish from 20 yards. But Hainey, who had seen little of the ball, glanced his header into the far corner following a sumptuous Daniel McKinlay cross on 61 minutes.
Willie Mitchell’s trip on Hainey 17 minutes from time afforded Mason the opportunity from 12 yards and he duly delivered in sending his right-footed shot beyond the reach of Ross McMullen for the winner.
Tynie boss Stevie Vinter was left seething at referee Ryan Lee and his assistants.
“I think we deserved to be further ahead at the break,” Vinter said. “We were the better side so I’m really gutted for the boys. I think we’ve been robbed as the officials have had a huge impact on the result. But Leith are a right good side so well done to them.
“But how can he [Khosrowpour] be offside when it’s come off their player? That’s just down to knowing the rules and they [the officials] know what they’ve done.”
Tynecastle: McMullen, Grant, McIntyre, Ferguson, Leslie, Mitchell, Cowan (Crabbe 61), Robinson (Kelly 84), Khosrowpour, Mayer, Swanson. Subs: Cockburn, Catlin, Brkic, Greig, Muttitt.
Leith Athletic: Gordon, Black, Fee, Melvin, Lewis, Burns, McKinlay, Allan (Mason 56), Hainey, Wilkie (Craigie 89), Wilson (Tracey 29). Subs: Beaton, Combe, Ferguson, Glynn.