Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith insisted the best is yet to come from his team after they booked their place in the semi-finals of the Dyslexia Scotland Junior Cup.
Smith’s side progressed on Saturday despite almost throwing away a three-goal lead against Yoker. And, following their 3-2 weekend success, he believes Rose are yet to show their full abilities.
“This side hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet this season and they have so much more to give,” said Smith. “Anyone who thought we were going to come here and have a stroll in the park was living on another planet. Yoker were in the quarter-finals on merit and it was a tough tie for us.
“It doesn’t matter what grade of football you are involved in, nothing is a given. You have to fight for everything you get.
“The expectations from our support are huge and, even when you win, it can be a disappointment for them.
“There were some long faces in our dressing-room afterwards until I reminded them of what they had achieved – a semi-final spot in the Scottish Cup.
“I had taken Camelon to the semis last season but left to join Linlithgow before the games were played but I’ve been there before and know just how huge a challenge it is.
“I’m really pleased for Alan Moffat, my assistant, who has never been to this stage before but left Camelon to join me here – I’m delighted for him to get the chance.”
Linlithgow started the game well and home goalkeeper Craig Winslow had to be sharp to deal with a Roddy MacLennan effort.
Rose took the lead in the 22nd minute with a superb Calum Smith effort.
A Gary Thom free-kick from deep in his own half found Smith – relishing a new striker’s role – who rose above everyone to power a super header into the top corner.
The second half was delayed for 35 minutes after a supporter had fallen over a wall and an ambulance was called.
It took Linlithgow only three minutes, though, to add to their tally. Roddy MacLennan, out left, pushed a low ball across goal for Tommy Coyne to slide it home from five yards.
Another three minutes and they had a three-goal cushion. A long ball out of the Linlithgow defence was headed on by Smith to Coyne who played Smith back in on goal. He strode forward and blasted the ball home from ten yards.
Yoker needed some luck and got it after the hour mark. A corner from the right was sent in low to the near post. Coyne tried to hoist it clear but it came off the side of his boot and sliced into the net for an unexpected own goal.
With only a couple of minutes to go, Yoker pulled another goal back.
John Harvey took a free-kick from 35 yards out which deceived everyone and landed in the net after going through goalkeeper Scott Christie’s legs. That was the last chance for Yoker, though, and Linlithgow comfortably ran out the rest of the game to join Musselburgh, Auchinleck and Hurlford in the last four.
Two-goal hero Smith said: “I’m really pleased with my goals because I much prefer playing through the middle and now that I’m getting my chance the goals are coming.
“We’re still fighting on all fronts this season and, with Armadale beating Kelty at the weekend, we can win the league.
“A few weeks ago our support were giving us stick but it’s amazing how a season can turn round on itself. The draw for the semis is on Friday but I’m not bothered who we meet as it’s still going to be hard.”
Yoker: Winslow, Carson, McManus, Harvey, Reilly, Frew (Chang), Rankin (Maxwell), Crerand, Arbuckle, Bissland, Maitland(Cairns). Subs: Baillie, Elliott.
Linlithgow Rose: Christie, Thom, McKillen (Tyrrell), O’Byrne, Ovenstone, Shirra, Batchelor, Ru MacLennan, Smith, Coyne (McGowan), Ro MacLennan (Kelly). Subs: Kelbie, McKinven.