David McGlynn hailed the “gallant Rosey Posey” after his Linlithgow Rose team put in a spirited display in Saturday’s 4-2 William Hill Scottish Cuo fifth-round defeat in Dingwall.
A Paul Quinn header and a Jamie Reckord own goal had the teams level at half time, before Brian Graham and Alex Schalk extended the Staggies’ lead after the break. Ruari MacLennan finished an outstanding team move to make it 3-2, but another from Graham ended Rose’s cup journey after postponements, abandonments and over 2000 miles on the road.
McGlynn believes the countless miles traveled on their cup run has enhanced the spirit within his squad. “The spirit of the team has been excellent since the journeys,” he explained. “It’s kept them on the bus, they’re talking and getting to know each other. The spirit the boys have shown in the last three months has been excellent. I’m proud of my boys – they worked their backsides off.
“Our cup final was Forfar and getting this, which was a bonus. We’ve done well on the road and to get to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup is absolutely fantastic. The players have earned a shandy or two!”
After some early pressure from the Junior outfit, it was the Premiership side that took an early lead. Ian McShane’s corner was met by Jackson Irvine, who saw his header came back off the post. Rose failed the clear and Quinn notched his second goal in two games since returning from Aberdeen, curling the ball into far corner – a finish County’s strikers would have been proud of.
Linlithgow were far from being pinned in their own half, and a Conor Kelly drive from distance went narrowly over, reminding those inside the Global Energy Stadium there were very much two teams in the game. Rafaelle De Vita attempted similar at the other end, but only succeeded in leathering the ball out of the stadium.
The Rose were continuing to give as good as they got, and some neat interplay between Tommy Coyne and Graham Weir gave the former a sight at goal, although his effort, while on target, was easily gathered by Gary Woods.
County’s best move from open play should have produced a goal when Jonathan Franks skipped by Ryan Baptie and stood the ball up for Graham. His downwards header looked goal-bound, only for Ally Adams to produce a fine one-handed save low to his left.
McGlynn’s team got their reward just before half-time. MacLennan’s initial shot was saved by Woods, and Blair Batchelor’s follow up was blocked by Scott Boyd with the keeper grounded, but came back off Reckord and bounced into the empty net. It was scrappy, but the Rose fans behind the goal rightly didn’t care and duly went nuts.
The visitors’ tails were understandably up, and they started brightly after the break, Coyne unable to keep his shot from the angle of the box down. Batchelor then tried his luck from a similar position, but his effort trundled through to Woods.
Three minutes before the hour, however, they were undone by another set piece. McShane’s delivery was met perfectly by Graham, who bulleted a header past Adams.
Quinn headed home from a Michael Gardyne free kick soon after, but ref Euan Norris ruled it out and had the free-kick retaken in a bizarre decision. It mattered little, however, as Alex Schalk forced the ball home from close range a minute later after a Jackson Irvine knock-on.
Just as they looked spent, “Lithgae” conjured a goal fit to grace any game with 15 to go. Starting from Adams in goal, they had their top flight opponents chasing shadows down the right wing, some wonderful one-touch football releasing Kelly, whose pinpoint cross allowed MacLennan to stroke home a contender for goal of the tournament.
McGlynn was more than justified in waxing lyrical over his team’s second goal. “We’ve scored a few good ones, but to do it where we were was the pleasing thing. We’ve done it on TV and it was on Sportscene last night going out all over the country. What a great goal it is – the build up from the back with the goalkeeper – it was great.”
Ross County: G Woods, Fraser, Boyd, Quinn, Reckord (Foster 46),De Vita, Irvine, McShane, Franks (Gardyne 46), Graham, Schalk (Boyce 65). Unused subs: Fox, Robertson, Murdoch, M Woods.
Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Tyrell, Ruari MacLennan, Leiper (Gray 75), Batty, Batchelor, McKenzie, Thom (Strickland 73), Weir, Kelly, Coyne (Kelbie 73). Unused subs: Jones, McKinven, Shirra.