Edinburgh City striker Robbie Ross scored a hat-trick in 12 minutes to fire his club into the final of the East of Scotland League Cup in a 4-0 victory over Leith Athletic – a game in which he wasn’t even meant to play.
Ross was not in the starting line-up but Ross Guthrie injured himself in the warm up to give Ross the No. 9 jersey. “I was in Spain for the past week and had not trained but I was delighted to get a game and score a hat-trick,” said Ross. “Now we have a chance of lifting a trophy.”
City manager Gary Jardine added: “We knew that Leith were a good side and we played with a purpose and a plan and we counter-attacked really well. A cup final is a reward for the players and hopefully they can go on and win it.”
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Leith straight from the kick-off when Paul Devlin hit a snapshot inches over and Richard Wilson in the Leith goal made a magnificent save to deny Ian McFarland. City took the lead after eight minutes when a Dougie Gair free kick was slipped into the net by Daryl Devlin.
Ross opened his account ten minutes before half-time when he pounced on a loose ball to sweep it behind Wilson. Shortly afterwards Paul Devlin crossed from the left for Ross to head home his second. Immediately after half-time Ross scored his third goal with a low shot.
Leith did have a flurry when City took their foot off the pedal and Jason Stevens, Greig Tulloch, Euan Campbell, Craig Hume, Douglas Thom and Darren Smith all had decent efforts but could not find the net.
Derek Riddel, the Leith manager, said: “For some reason the guys went out and treated the game like a friendly and not a cup semi-final.”
Vale of Leithen and Gretna 2008 drew 1-1 in the Central Taxis Premier Division, with Scott Moffat giving Vale the lead before Jordan Crowley equalised for the visitors.
Tonight, in the other semi- final of the League Cup, Spartans travel to meet Stirling University, kick-off 7.45pm, while, in the Premier Division, Whitehill Welfare can draw level with Spartans when they host Preston Athletic at Rosewell (7.00pm).
In the First Division, second-placed Craigroyston host Burntisland Shipyard while leaders Coldstream are at home Ormiston await Duns and Peebles Rovers are at home to Easthouses Lily.