Bonnyrigg Rose 0
THE stage was set. New Dundas Park was looking resplendent. There were queues before kick-off at each of the three entrances. Then the game started and the occasion soon turned flat for a bumper crowd.By all accounts, Bonnyrigg had been unlucky not to pull off a Scottish Cup upset seven days earlier. Then, they had been 2-0 up late in the game, with their Division Two opponents a wee bit fortunate to pull off a 2-2 draw.
On this occasion, Rose were taught a lesson by Ray McKinnon’s men. Brechin were brilliant; Bonnyrigg were well below par.
It was no contest as the Angus aces, who were 3-0 up inside the opening 20 minutes and went on to win at a canter, earned a trip to SPL side St Mirren in the next round.
“A bad day at the office,” was how Rose manager Max Christie summed it up and, in truth, it was no surprise that he decided not to scream and bawl at his players in the immediate aftermath. “You can’t even get uptight about that as we were so far off the pace from the first kick of the ball,” he said.
For nearly a season and a half now, he’s been served magnificently by his players, who showed unbelievable resolve time and time again last term to lift the Super League title and, in the process, earn this adventure. They gave Brechin one hell of a fright a week earlier, the Glebe Parkers admitting to a man on Saturday that they were still fortunate to be in the competition.
On the basis of that first game, it was only natural that Rose believed they could still pull off one of the most memorable results in the club’s history. But second time around the gulf between the two teams was enormous, with all the key performances coming from men wearing Brechin’s black and white striped away strip.
Kurtis Byrne was one of them. The former Hibs kid is on loan to Brechin from Ross County and has to make a three-hour trip – on two different trains – to get down from the Highlands for home games.
He was a handful all afternoon and started the rout with a deflected free-kick in the 11th minute, by which time Rose had already found themselves hemmed in.
Derek Carcary, a little left winger, was another thorn for Rose. He ran riot from the off, getting in behind the home defence time and time again.
The goal his display richly deserved was the pick of the bunch, too, as he slammed home a right-foot volley off the underside of the bar in the second-half.
Alan Trouten, another shining light, helped himself to a first-half double, while Jonathan Brown and former St Johnstone striker Andy Jackson also got on the scoresheet.
Christie described the likes of Byrne, Trouten and Jackson as “bright” players, an acknowledgement of how well they all did their jobs in what was a polished performance from Brechin. And visiting boss McKinnon said: “I think Bonnyrigg maybe surprised some of our players last week but on Saturday they were fully aware of what they needed to do and I felt we dominated the game from the first minute.”
From early on it was a damage limitation for Rose. Everything that could have gone wrong did. Alex King, normally so influential, was replaced before the break, a pre-match jag not having the desired effect on this occasion.
Goalkeeper Michael Burgess crumbled in a heap inside the penalty box early in the second-half and had to be replaced between the sticks by Christie’s No. 2 Steve Ellison.
Then the fiery Liam McKenna got himself sent off for lifting his arms at Ewan Moyles after he’d been accused of diving.
All in all, it was a day to forget for Bonnyrigg. But they need to get it out of their system pronto. Petershill, who are certainly no mugs, are next up in the Scottish Junior Cup this weekend.
“We’ve got to get our heads up as quickly as we can and forget about this display,” said Christie. “We’ve got to remind them what they can do and what they are capable of.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Burgess (Ellison 48), Archibald, Dunn, Woodburn, McLeish, King (Stephen Thomson 36), Burrell (Hamilton 66), McKenna, Roseburgh, Renton, Grady. Subs: Hendry, Noble.
Brechin: Nelson, Stewart McLean, Moyes, Hay, Brown, Trouten, Fusco (Jonathan Stewart 67), Molloy, Carcary (Ryan Stewart 77), Byrne, Jackson (Dalziel 63). Subs: Andrews, Lowdon.