Linlithgow Rose striker Tommy Coyne bagged his 298th and 299th goals for the club as the Prestonfield men advanced smoothly to the first round of the William Hill Scottish Cup winning 2-0 at Preston Athletic.
The visitors were too strong for their East of Scotland Conference C rivals as two Coyne strikes in the first half saw Rose rewarded with a home tie against Highland League outfit Fort William later this month.
Coyne, pictured right, officially became Linlithgow’s most prolific ever marksman in their last season as a Junior club last term when he reached 274 goals. He then set himself the target of 300 in an exclusive interview with this newspaper back in January.
He is now just one away from that incredible feat, with this his 11th season at the club, but the modest forward isn’t too bothered when that goal comes.
“Last season was a funny end to the season for me, I picked up a couple of knocks and I didn’t play as many games as I would’ve like,” said the 31-year-old. “I’ve started OK this season, that’s me got seven so far now. It [300th goal] will come in time, people said the same before I got to 100 and 200 – there’s plenty time left for that.
“It’s not even something that I think about; I think I’ll get there, put it that way. If it’s not next week, it will be sometime after that. It’s not about me getting this, I’ll let other people speak about that. It’s just about building momentum now and continuing on from this.
“This is a good result for us. A lot of people thought we would maybe slip up, but I thought we were the better team throughout the game. I thought we were very professional and after we went ahead we never looked like we were going to get beat.”
Coyne was part of the Rose squad of 2015/16 which went all the way to the last-16 of the competition, the first Junior club to do so, before running then Premiership club Ross County close in the Highlands.
Although the striker isn’t predicting another glory run just yet, belief will certainly grow in Mark Bradley’s side with each passing round.
He continued: “We’re delighted to get through. We’ve had some cracking runs in the Scottish Cup, getting to the last 16. I’m not saying we’re going to do that again but we’re into the first round now and it’s good financially for the club.
“This is a bonus competition for us, and the longer we can stay in it the better.”
Coyne fired Rose ahead after 12 minutes with a neat finish, but only after home captain David Liddle missed a gilt-edged chance for Preston when he sidefooted wide of the back post with the net gaping.
Preston had enough possession but didn’t look like breaking down a Rose rearguard containing veteran defender John Ovenstone, the centre back making his second debut for the club after returning last week.
Rose had barely got out of third gear, but they were soon celebrating their second of the afternoon five minutes before the interval. Kyle Turnbull’s cross from the right was pinpoint for Coyne, who volleyed into the far corner from ten yards out.
Preston’s most dangerous player Brandon Archibald looked to create something before the interval, but they couldn’t muster anything of note to trouble goalkeeper Kyle Marley.
Rose defender Kevin McKinlay was close to number three shortly after the half-time break with his header from Darren Smith’s corner bringing out a save from home keeper Craig Pennycuick.
Striker Jack Jardine then had a chance to get Preston back into the tie but he scooped an effort over the bar from Archibald’s pass.
Rose were managing the game well, with Preston restricted to very few efforts at goal. Coyne looked set for his hat-trick and the milestone late on, only to head over from close range at the front post.
Visiting boss Bradley was pleased to guide his side through to the first round without much trouble, he said:
“It was quite a solid performance from us, even though we only scored two goals we were well in control.
“We looked really strong at the back and in midfield. We didn’t get to play as much as we like and control a lot of the game with possession but we looked the dominant team.”
Preston Athletic: C Pennycuick, Austin, Ndiweni, M McFarlane, Innes, Liddle, D Pennycuick, L McFarlane, Jardine (Woodcock), Archibald (Campbell), Grotlin
Linlithgow Rose: Marley, Gray, Turnbull, McKinlay, Ovenstone (Sloan), Thom, McKenzie, Ruari MacLennan (Urquhart), Smith, Coyne, Roddy MacLennan (Strickland)