Linlithgow boss praises opponents in Junior Cup stalemate

Kevin Kelbie goes on the attack for Linlithgow Rose. Pic: Scott Louden
Kevin Kelbie goes on the attack for Linlithgow Rose. Pic: Scott Louden
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Linlithgow Rose boss David McGlynn was full of praise for Ayrshire visitors Irvine Meadow and declared his side lucky to still be in the hat for tomorrow’s ETHX Junior Cup fifth-round draw following Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate.

Rose were left frustrated in their attempts to secure a second-half winner to prevent another journey on the road after a fiercely competitive first half in which they fell behind to their struggling visitors after a defensive mix-up.

The Prestonfield men, who have already clocked up close to 1700 miles on their travels in the Scottish Cup proper, visit Forfar tomorrow night for their fourth-round replay after last week’s abandonment. Win that and they’ll set up a long-haul trip to Premiership Ross County in the last 16, with a visit to Ayrshire sandwiched in-between. “I thought we dominated in the first half, some of our movement play was great and we done excellent,” said McGlynn. “But, in the second half they changed their tactics and Dave [Greig, Meadow manager] got his tactics bang on and they frustrated us. The whole game was stop start – the referee [blew] for foul after foul and it suited the way they were playing.

“Those are the sort of games that I’ve played in and managed in the past and you don’t get a result – you get a goal against you. Instead of being maybe two up we weren’t and you’re holding on. Credit to them I thought they were very, very good today and you can see Dave has made a difference to them.

“They set up with a back four and two sitters in front that were 6 ft 6 and 5 ft 11 and they frustrated us. It was probably a bit naïve [from us] that we didn’t play our game and the way we should play which is passing the ball.

“We’re lucky to still be in the hat, but we’re still in the hat and that’s the main thing.”

Meadow sit rock bottom of the West Super League after an indifferent start to the campaign led to the sacking of Stevie Rankin, but with a new manager at the helm in Greig, they looked like a side intent on proving their doubters wrong against heavily-fancied Rose.

The visitors pressed and harried their opponents in the early stages. Forward Shaun Fraser put pressure on Ruari MacLennan, leading the midfielder to lose possession in his own half but Fraser couldn’t find team-mate Ritchie Barr and Rose escaped.

Meadow were then gifted the opener after eight minutes. Ryan Deas’ corner should’ve been dealt with easily by goalkeeper Ally Adams, but he was left grasping at thin air as defender Gary Thom nipped in front of him to just take the ball out of his reach and Barr finished well at the back post.

Rose’s response was almost instant, however. Thom making up for his role in the loss of the opener with an inch-perfect cross to the back post which Graham Weir took full advantage of, the diminutive midfielder getting the better of defender Marc Twaddle to stoop low and power a header past Graeme Shepherd.

The home side were starting to click their passes into place and looked more likely to take the lead before the break. Andy Shirra flashed a ball across goal from the left, his cross asking to be diverted into the net but no one in a maroon shirt was there to find the required touch.

Meadow were furious five minutes after the restart when assistant Martin Hristov flagged for offside to rule out Deas’ free-kick which appeared to fly past Adams without a touch on route. The lack of any protests from the home ranks suggesting they felt it was a legitimate goal as Meadow’s celebrations were cut short.

Rose were growing frustrated with the visitors’ rough tactics which was preventing them gaining any rhythm in the final third. Anytime Rose breached the half-way line the visitors seemed to be in competition with each other to see who could bring down the home player first.

Ryan Baptie was offered an opportunity to give Rose the lead after Grant Evans careered through the back of Weir some 30 yards out, but his free-kick was held well by Shepherd diving down to his left.

Substitute Paul Maxwell was allowed to pick his spot and must’ve thought he was about to strike the winner for Meadow six minutes from time, but Rose defender Jamie MacKenzie intervened with a fine block.

Baptie’s low ball across goal almost brought a late winner for Rose, with Kevin Kelbie and Blair Batchelor both sliding in at the back post but neither could quite stretch out far enough to prod the ball past Shepherd.

Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Thom, Baptie, Tyrrell, MacKenzie, MacLennan, Batchelor, Shirra, Strickland (Kelbie), Coyne (Jones), Weir.

Irvine Meadow: Shepherd, Girvan, Halliday, Evans, Twaddle, Keenan, McCann, Murch, Barr (Maxwell), Deas (Bolton), Fraser.