Bonnyrigg were sent tumbling out of the East of Scotland Cup at the quarter-final stage as St Andrews blasted four goals without reply against their injury-ravaged visitors.
Rose boss Max Christie was forced to field a mixture of youngsters and players carrying injuries in a game the Super League title-chasers could probably have done without. The manager even put himself on the bench, coming on midway through the second half. He had seven players out injured including Sean Grady, James Morrice and Paul Shields so it was always going to be a tough task for them at Recreation Park. The club’s priority this season has always been winning the league title and next Saturday’s game against Carnoustie is the one that really counts.
Christie, who hopes to have almost a full squad to choose from for that game, said: “We will take care of the injury line-up this week and see what happens. We really didn’t expect to win here with the players we had, but we wanted to give a good account of ourselves.
“It’s been a shocking week for us [Bonnyrigg crashed 7-0 to Linlithgow in midweek] but – without making excuses – fatigue set in for the players and now they need to rest to peak again next week.
“The squad is carrying a lot of players injured but hopefully we can get five or six back for Carnoustie.
“I like to think if we had the players back fit we would have given a better account of ourselves. Carnoustie won on Saturday and, as well as making them safe, the edge will have been taken out of our game against them.”
It was an odd-looking Bonnyrigg team that took the field at St Andrews with 37-year-old Craig Bertram, who hadn’t played for over a year, at the heart of the defence and youngster Ben Taylor in a striking role up front. Goalkeeper Michael Burgess was also carrying a groin strain affecting his kicking.
All the goals came in a first half with St Andrews taking advantage of the unusual line-up. They opened the scoring in the 20th minute, Ryan McInnes latching on to a loose ball and hitting the net from 18 yards. Only four minutes later, St Andrews doubled their lead. Ryan Suttie robbed Bertram before rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the empty net. Their third came ten minutes later, McInnes sending over a deep cross to the back post where the unmarked Johnny McRae headed home. The hosts’ fourth came on the stroke of half-time with a second from McInnes. He turned his marker on the 18-yard line and curled a shot into the far corner.
At the start of the second half, Christie brought on Alex King, who has been out injured for several weeks. The purpose was to give the former Spartans midfielder some game time before the massive match at Carnoustie next weekend. The tactic worked with Bonnyrigg having some stability at the back which had been lacking in the first half. They were now having a go at the St Andrews defence and came close on a few occasions but couldn’t get the goal which might have brought them back into the game.
St Andrews United: Bennett, Wilson, Gibb, Porteous, Fotheringham, McMillan, Patrick, Sutherland, Buchan, McRae, Dignan. Subs: Paterson, Gunn.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Burgess, Stu Thomson, Ste Thomson, Bertram, Burrell, McLeish, McKenna, Hendrie, Archibald, McCallum, Taylor. Subs: Steele, Bunyan, King, Christie.