Ramsdens Cup: Late Spence strike sees off Falkirk

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MOST people with connections to Hearts shudder at the mere mention of Lithuania but Raith Rovers’ Calum Elliot is an exception.

Raith Rovers 1 - 0 Falkirk

Scorer - Spence 86

The former Scotland Under-21 striker may not have won silverware during his eight years at Tynecastle but he earned a winner’s medal in the Baltic State.

He signed for Zalgiris Vilnius in January of last year and was in the team which beat holders Ekranas on penalties to claim the Lithuanian Football Federation Cup.

The only downside for Elliot was that, due to the desire to be back among his nearest and dearest, he missed out on the post-match celebrations.

“It was a great occasion [over there], as all finals are,” said the 26-year-old. “The occasions are big in Lithuania, too. I think a cup final is a big deal in any country but it’s maybe that wee bit different here as Scotland is more of a football country.

“They did a bus parade at the end of the season but I came home straight after the final game of the season so I missed all the celebrations.

“It was a good experience but, towards the end of my spell there, I was desperate to come home and see my family.”

Saturday’s deserved win over a feisty Falkirk side took Rovers into the semi-finals of the Ramsdens Cup, with leading scorer Greig Spence grabbing the winner five minutes from time after starting the match on the bench due to a thigh injury.

The goal was long overdue. While Falkirk squandered the two best openings of the tie, Rovers created more of them and will fancy their chances in the last four.

“As long as we are focused and all the boys do their jobs, we’ll have a great chance of getting into this final,” said Elliot.

“That’s something you’d always remember. Just the moment when you get to lift that trophy is the thing you remember more than anything. It would mean a lot if I could do that in Scotland but we can’t look too far ahead.

“We’ll have a semi-final to get through first and that won’t be easy – and, until that comes along, we have to concentrate on our league form and make sure we’re up towards the top end of the table.”