CHAMPIONSHIP high-flyers Queen of the South were made to battle all the way to finally see off a resilient Brora Rangers side, who showed why they are top of the Highland League.
Queens, facing Highland League opposition in the Scottish Cup for only the tenth time in their history, made a sensational start when Gavin Reilly darted down the left and whipped a cross to the back post for Derek Lyle.
The striker’s downward header was brilliantly turned onto a post by Rangers’ goalkeeper Joe Malin, but Lyle reacted first to ram home the rebound from two yards out for the opener.
The Sutherland outfit, playing in the fourth round of the Cup for the first time, almost levelled the match in 38 minutes when Zander Sutherland burst in from the left, but his low angled drive from 15 yards was pushed round by goalkeeper Jim Atkinson.
Davie Kirkwood’s side grew in confidence and Sutherland had another chance in 41 minutes, but his 18-yard shot from the edge of the penalty area was well held by goalkeeper Atkinson.
Queens netted a second in 62 minutes when Kerr threaded the ball through to Reilly, who ran through and slotted the ball beyond Malin and into the net.
But Brora pulled one back just three minutes later when Andrew Greig cut in from the left-hand side and drilled a low shot past Atkinson for 2-1.
The Dumfries side finally booked their passage to the next round in 71 minutes when Iain Russell netted with a solo effort, when he found space on the left to score from ten yards.
Substitute Lewis Kidd rammed home a fourth goal for Queen of the South from 10 yards out, ten minutes from full-time, when he raced in to the box to run onto a Russell cut-back.