Penicuik Athletic boss Craig Meikle felt his side should’ve scored even more as they eased into the fifth round of the Scottish Junior Cup with an emphatic 7-0 win over their North region opponents.
The Midlothian side set up a last-16 clash with either Arthurlie or Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, but Meikle was underwhelmed by his side’s second-half showing. The player-manager felt his side should’ve shown greater tenacity in front of goal after they had built up a 4-0 lead at the break.
“The scoreline at half-time allowed us to make a couple of changes, but I wasn’t impressed with our second-half performance,” he said. “I thought we took our foot off the pedal – I thought there was a lot more goals in it for us if we’d continued creating as many chances.
“I expect the boys to be ruthless and keep going, but I obviously wouldn’t want to be too disrespectful. I told them to go all out [at half-time] – you want your strikers to get on the scoresheet and build their confidence. Ryan [McCallum] had a few chances in the first half and never took any, and then Sean [Patterson] came on and got a couple, which is good. It was a big positive for Ryan [Gay] getting a hat-trick on his 250th appearance.”
The tie had been switched to Penicuik after Spey’s pitch had been frozen off three weeks in a row. The newcomers – this is their first season competing at Junior level – looked vulnerable every time Penicuik went forward. After a succession of early Penicuik corners, centre-back Darrell Young made the breakthrough when he nodded home from Gay’s delivery.
The home side were awarded a penalty-kick by referee Evan Cairns after 19 minutes when defender Shane Carling barged into the back of McCallum.The striker stepped up to take it himself, but keeper Bruce Sellers dived to his left to thwart make the save.
The hosts doubled their lead in bizarre fashion when Carling somehow managed to send an attempted clearance low into his own net. Penicuik got their third on 35 minutes, and what a strike it was. McCallum was brought down on the edge of the box and Gay sent the free-kick clean over the wall and into the top corner, with Sellers helpless.
Spey barely had time to reorganise before Sellers was again picking the ball out of his net as Gay netted his second after being set up by Steven Weir.
It took until the 69th minute for Penicuik to make it five. Patterson, who’d come on for Neil Janczyk ten minutes earlier, was gifted possession by Sellers on the edge of the area, but he still had a lot to do as he skipped past two defenders before curling a shot round the keeper.
Centre-back David White tried to get in on the act with a shot from decent that was parried by Sellers, but Patterson was there to knock in the rebound. Gay completed his hat-trick with a penalty after Spey left-back Darren McGregor had brought him down in the area.
Penicuik: Bejaoui (Hill), Cunnison, Ross, White, Young, Lister, Gay, McCulloch, McCallum, Weir (Bunyan), Janczyk (Patterson).
Spey Valley: Sellers, McQueen, McGregor, Tarran, Carling, Mochan, Ritchie, Kennedy, Bobrowski, Wachawk, McGhie.