Proud Tony Begg feels Penicuik Athletic deserved draw at Partick as he hails decision to join pyramid

Cuikie co-boss hails players for not being overawed by early goal

Monday, 25th November 2019, 6:00 am
Tony Begg, centre, applauds the travelling Penicuik Athletic fans. Pic: SNS

Penicuik co-manager Tony Begg felt the least his players deserved was a Scottish Cup third round replay after they went down to Championship club Partick following the concession of an opening-minute goal.

At times the East of Scotland side looked like they were the club sitting bottom of Scotland’s second tier as they produced a spirited showing in front of over 1300 noisy travelling fans, but ultimately came up short in their bid to reach the stage when the big guns enter the cup.

Reece Cole volleyed in the opening goal barely after referee Mike Roncone’s first blow of his whistle to flip Penicuik’s gameplan on it’s head. Penicuik, however, did not let their heads drop as they grew stronger as the first half wore on, with Patrick boss Ian McCall admitting after the match that the visitors were the better side in the opening 45.

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“I am immensely proud of our performance,” said Begg. “I said to them before the game that I thought they would take themselves to new limits that they didn’t know they had, and I think they did that. It was just so disappointing to lose such an early goal. I’ll be honest, to lose a goal inside a minute, you think, ‘Here we go, is this going to be one of those days’, but for them to react the way they reacted and the way we grew into the game and the way we kept the ball, the longer we kept the ball, the more our confidence grew.

“Sam [Jones] had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper and you look back on that and think what might have been. The gameplan was always to stay in the game and was to try and get through 20 minute spells in the game. The gameplan didn’t go out the window or change just because we lost an early goal, and I thought that was important, that we didn’t do anything daft to react to losing the early goal. We had belief that the plan would work and ultimately losing 1-0, I think we showed the plan worked.

“We were incredibly unlucky not to at least get a replay, we just couldn’t quite create a clear cut opportunity in the second half. As we got into the last five minutes we were slinging balls into the box and just hoping that something was going to drop our way.”

Begg, alongside co-boss Kevin Milne, their entire backroom staff and their on-the-pitch heroes took a standing ovation from the visiting support after the full-time whistle who had all stayed back to show their appreciation, with the home fans also joining in with the applause.

Begg hopes they can all make it back for Penicuik’s next home game after a performance which he feels vindicates the club’s decision to join the East of Scotland League.

He continued: “The support was just absolutely incredible, I am sure it must have been the biggest away support in Scotland on Saturday. From the first minute to the last minute their backing was terrific, and as soon we lost the early goal they got right behind us and I think that gave the players such an incredible boost to look up into that corner of the stand and see so many fans. They were absolutely terrific and it would be brilliant to see them turn up to our next home.

“Two years ago we were a Junior club and the club made a bold decision to move over into the pyramid system by joining the East of Scotland League and I think they’ve been fully merited and justified in making that decision, because if we hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity, not just to have days like this, but the whole cup run we’ve had. This run has shown the levels the players the levels that they can get to, and that’s testament to them.”

Partick Thistle: Fox, Williamson, Penrice, O’Ware, Hall (Kakay), Harkins (Miller), Cole, Palmer, Slater, Zanatta, Saunders.

Penicuik Athletic: Watt, Young, Page, Connolly, Jones, Watson, Tansey (Baptie), McCrory-Irving (Kateleza), Ponton (Stewart), Stevenson, Forbes.

Attendance: 3165.