Tranent boss Calum Elliot hails patched-up players for going 'above and beyond' to rekindle title hopes by beating

Tranent boss Calum Elliot hailed his patched-up players for rising to the occasion as they rekindled their East of Scotland Premier title hopes with a dominant 3-0 away defeat of league leaders Penicuik Athletic.

By Scott Thomson
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 3:42 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:26 am

The Foresters Park men cut the gap on the leaders to five points with a game in hand by becoming the first team in nearly two years to win a league game at Penicuik Park, as players including goalkeeper Kelby Mason and captain Shaun Rutherford played through the pain barrier in a match Elliot insisted they had to win.

“It’s credit to the boys, I thought over the 90 minutes we ran them into the ground,” said Elliot.

“We had to come here and win, there was no getting away from that, it’s a great result for us and it was throughly deserved, they were outstanding to a man.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

“Realistically if we had lost the game we would’ve been 11 points behind with a game in hand, whereas now we are right in the mix and we have a lot to play for between now and the end of the season.”

Tranent had only played one competitive match since the end of November, but they showed no signs of lacking any match fitness as they struck twice before half-time after an even opening 30 minutes.

Euan Greig was alert after his shot was initially blocked. Rather than rush a second attempt of his own, he bided his time and picked out team-mate Kieran Somerville unmarked and in acres of space on the edge of the six yard box, and the former Livingston youngster fired high into the net.

Somerville was again placed well to head in his second just two minutes before the half-time break when he headed across goal and into the net from Craig Stevenson’s cross after a well-worked one-two with Wayne McIntosh.

Tranent are the first team to win in the league at Penicuik park for two years

Penicuik boss Stevie McLeish made three changes at the break as he freshened up his side for the second half.

One of those substitutes, Lumbert Kateleza, lasted just five minutes before being forced off again with an apparent muscle pull.

McIntosh compounded Cuikie’s woes as he rounded keeper Robert Watt, before rolling the ball into the back of the net with just over 20 minutes remaining to make the three points safe.

Tranent centre back Ciaran McKenzie saw red from referee Daniel Graves with ten minutes remaining, but there was no way back for Penicuik.

Elliot has challenged his players to maintain the same performance levels for the remainder of the season. They take a break from league action next weekend when they host Lowland League leaders Bonnyrigg Rose in the cup.

He continued: “I didn’t even need to say anything before the game, I could see at training on Thursday that there was a competitiveness about them and they recognised how big this game was.

“The challenge was for them to come here and deliver, and they delivered a performance that they should be extremely proud of.

“We’ve got a strong squad and that’s why you need a strong squad if you want to compete. We’ve had a tough time, but this will be an experience the boys will grow stronger from. We need to kick on from now, this can’t be a one-off.

“There was boys that we asked to go above and beyond, and they did that for their team-mates and the club.

“I certainly appreciate what they did, because some of them shouldn’t have been on that pitch. Kelby Mason has had a problem with his knee and what a performance he put in.”

Penicuik Athletic: Watt, Baptie (Hope), Young (Combe), Edwards, Watson, Dawson (Kataleza) (McMurdo), Neave (Walsh), Collins, Thomson, McCrory-Irving, Reid

Tranent Juniors: Mason, Stevenson, Rutherford, McCormack, Murphy (Donaldson), Doherty, Greig (Knox), Anderson, McKenzie, McIntosh (Thomson), Somerville (Miller)

Attendance: 500

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this article. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our sports coverage with a digital sports subscription.