Arron Murrell celebrated turning 18 and a new contract with a hat-trick as Spartans booked their place in the William Hill Scottish Cup second-round draw with a 5-1 win over Coldstream at Ainslie Park.
The striker’s treble had the hosts 3-0 up before Ash Longford pulled one back for the East of Scotland League outfit, but two further goals from Robbie Ross and an Eddie Malone free-kick ensured Dougie Samuel’s side eased through.
Murrell was delighted to cap off an enjoyable fortnight for himself personally after being rewarded for recent performances with an extended deal.
“It’s been good,” said Spartans’ top scorer. “I was quite fortunate today with my first goal but all round it’s been a good couple of weeks.”
Spartans’ Conner Duthie spurned the clearest opening after quarter of an hour. The Hibs loanee rose to meet David Greenhill’s corner unchallenged but nodded wide from just five yards out.
Duthie then turned provider for Greenhill, but the midfielder’s sliding effort was blocked before Craig Stevenson skewed his follow-up wide.
Jamie Dishington should have opened the scoring after showing good feet in the area, but Chris Watson stood up well to save his placed effort. The Coldstream goalkeeper then prevented Eddie Malone’s corner drifting in.
That only delayed the breakthrough though. Greenhill’s corner wasn’t cleared, and Murrell nodded home with a little help from Tom Farr’s attempted clearance after Ally Mackinnon headed across goal to keep the ball alive.
Murrell got his and Spartans’ second less than five minutes after the restart. Michael Herd advanced on the right and sent in a pin-point delivery on to Murrell’s head, who left Watson helpless with a well-directed header into the corner.
The teenager completed his hat-trick in style shortly after, collecting Greenhill’s pass before sending a stinging drive into the corner from the edge of the area that Watson got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Des Sutherland then broke the offside trap and squared for Longford to tap into the empty net and reduce the deficit.
There was to be no comeback, however, as Spartans re-established their two-goal lead with just over ten minutes remaining. Ross marked his return from a month-long loan spell at Vale Leithen by netting with a glancing header from Stevenson’s whipped corner before Malone added further gloss to the scoreline with a clipped free-kick into the corner.
Murrell is a man in form, and is confident of retaining his place. “If I keep on banging in the goals I should have nothing to worry about,” he admitted. “But it’s good to have guys like Robbie [Ross] back.”
Spartans: Carswell, Brown, Malone, Thomson, Mackinnon, Greenhill, Dishington, Stevenson, Murrell (Ross 62), Herd (Saunderson 56), Duthie (Murray 62).
Coldstream: Watson, Farr (Heugh 66), Maxwell, Allan, Inglis, Wilson (Scott 66), Simpson, Hossack, Langford, Sutherland, Steele (Gillie 78).