Aberdeen Grammar coach Kevin Wyness heaped praise on his players after they progressed to the last four of the RBS National Cup courtesy of a performance brimming with character.
In addition to pushing the Granite City men closer to a showdown for the silverware, Saturday’s victory has delivered a confidence boost ahead of the battle for Premiership survival.
“We haven’t had the greatest of seasons or the greatest of results but we had a lot of young laddies there and they really deserved it,” said a delighted Wyness, whose side currently sits bottom of the Premiership table.
“They really stuck in against a very organised Accies team. I am delighted for the players. I thought their attitude was good, I thought they were very aggressive and controlled.”
Admitting that the decision to switch the match from Raeburn Place to the 3G surface at Murrayfield had been a source of some concern, he added: “When you are playing on a surface like that, the game is going to be fast. I was panicking about that, I must admit, with the quality of the Accies players, but I was delighted for the team.”
Adding to the uncertainty was a stiff wind that favoured the visitors in the first half, but their territorial domination yielded only a penalty for Rob Aloe and a try by Matt Schosser. That seemed unlikely to be enough to put Grammar into the semi-finals, particularly after Alex Black kicked a penalty for Accies in the first minute of the first half.
With the benefit of the elements still to come, that strike looked likely to provide the foundation for an Accies victory. But Grammar had other ideas and the hosts’ task became tougher when Stevie Aitken touched down early in the second period to extend the lead to ten points.
Stung by that score, Accies sprang into life and dominated proceedings for the rest of the half. But a lack of composure inside the opposition 22 spawned a string of handling errors and, as the clock ticked down, their impatience increased. Those failings, allied to a committed effort by a Grammar defence that occasionally bordered on desperation and led to two yellow cards, left the scoreline unchanged until the hour mark when Duncan Morrison finally crashed over for an unconverted try. It felt like the breakthrough that would bring further scores.
However, the visitors displayed a determination that augurs well for their season finale and earned praise from Accies coach Jonny Else, who said: “Fair play to Aberdeen – they played the conditions better than us, especially first half. They had a lot of desire and a lot of determination and you could see it.
“We just looked a bit jittery. We knew what we wanted to do but we just couldn’t complete and we weren’t accurate enough in the second half. We were struggling to get past three or four phases at times, and when we did we looked a bit predictable.”
Scorers: Edinburgh Accies: Try: Morrison. Pen: Black. Aberdeen Grammar: Tries: Schosser, Aitken. Pen: Aloe.
Edinburgh Accies: J Sole; N Godsmark, E Campbell, I Berthinussen, C Dean; R Bonner, A Black; D Morrison, M Liness, S Strudwick, J McCarthy, A Toolis, R Snape, H Watson, C Reid. Subs used: G Campbell, R Seydak.
Aberdeen Grammar: S Aitken; E Oag, H Duthie, G Ryan, W Wardlaw; R Aloe, M Ward; M Schosser, S Bingham, S Cessford, S Smith, J Metcalfe, A Mackie, T McGinness, T Preece. Subs used: M Dixon, S O’Connor, M Emmison, S Knudson, J Lauder, C Gordon.
Referee: P Allan.