Linlithgow Rose 2-1 Musselburgh Athletic: Flannery saves day for Rose

LINLITHGOW overcame a goalkeeping crisis thanks to hero stand-in Paddy Flannery to lift the East of Scotland Cup following a double from Tommy Coyne.

Rose boss Dave Baikie had planned to field former Musselburgh player Ronnie McPherson between the sticks.

But, around an hour before kick-off, his Musselburgh counterpart Davy McGlynn, who had transferred McPherson to Linlithgow earlier in the season, claimed that the keeper had played in an earlier round and was therefore cup-tied.

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This was a bombshell for Rose because their other keeper, Steven Pinkowski, was on holiday and they had no back-up.

East Region Discipline secretary Alec Hamilton was sent home to check the situation and he phoned half an hour later to confirm that McPherson was, indeed, cup-tied.

After much head-scratching, Baikie announced that striker Flannery would don the goalkeeper's jersey – a case of poacher turned goalkeeper.

Musselburgh come out of the incident with a great deal of credit as they could have kept quiet and only lodged their protest afterwards if they had lost the game.

The fact that the final was so late in the year caused Musselburgh problems as well as they had no fewer than eight players away on holiday and only 12 stripped for the game.

And Athletic were soon on the back foot as Linlithgow took the game to them.

In the opening 15 minutes there was some desperate defending from the Musselburgh back four with Stuart Fraser outstanding.

But something had to give and Linlithgow striker Gordon Herd raced down the right wing in the 22nd minute before cutting the ball back for Coyne. His first effort was blocked by keeper Kieron Renton but Coyne was nearest to the loose ball and slammed it home from ten yards.

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Musselburgh were immediately on the back foot again and John Ward rose to power in a header from a corner, only to see Renton make a great save.

Musselburgh regrouped to equalise in the 38th minute with a well-worked goal.

Scott Devlin finished off a great four-man move down the left by volleying high into the net – leaving Flannery helpless. As the first half drew to a close, Flannery was called into action and proved he was no mug between the sticks.

Musselburgh came more into the game in the second half but it was Linlithgow who scored what turned out to be the winner.

Roddy McLennan was brought down in the Musselburgh box for a softish penalty and Coyne stepped up to blast the ball home.

Musselburgh kept plugging away and almost grabbed the unlikeliest of equalisers.

Flannery made his only mistake of the afternoon when he was caught way out of his penalty area and Adam Nelson spotted him and launched a shot towards the empty net from just inside the Linlithgow half. Luckily for Flannery, it drifted just wide of the far post

In the 75th minute, Musselburgh had a strong claim for a penalty themselves.

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Iain Ramage, who had been pushed forward to help the attack, appeared to be shoved in the back by Ward but the referee, who had a good view, waved away the claims and booked Ramage for protesting.

Linlithgow held out and delighted captain Ward stepped up to collect the trophy.

Flannery in goal did all that was asked of him, punching, clutching and blocking the ball and racing from his area to kick clear.

He couldn't hide his delight at the end and said: "I really enjoyed the game. It was something I've done before but not in a big, high-profile game like this.

"I'm just a bit disappointed about the goal I lost – if I'd been playing in goal regularly I'd have saved it."

Musselburgh boss McGlynn said: "At the start of the game I felt we had to do the decent thing and I'm glad it all sorted itself out.

"We only had 12 players today and so it was always going to be hard to beat the Scottish Cup holders.

"But the lads did a tremendous job and I'm delighted with them. I'm not going to say too much about our penalty claim as the supporters who were there saw it for themselves."

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Linlithgow manager Baikie added: "We were in big trouble but Paddy stepped forward and did the business for us.

"I'm really pleased to have won this cup because it finishes off a great season for the club.

"The effort from the players at the end of a long, hard season was terrific and because of that effort, we deserved to win this game."

Musselburgh have another chance to grab some silverware when they take on Bathgate in the Fife and Lothians Cup final at Newtongrange on Tuesday night.

Linlithgow : Flannery, Kelly, Virgili, Ward, Wilson (Donnelly), Adam, McLennan, Bradley, Herd (Manson), Coyne, McArthur (Smith). Subs: McMenamin, McDermott, Tyrrell.

Musselburgh: Kieron Renton, Shand, Ramage, Fraser, Gibson, Nelson, Doherty (Murphy), Devlin, King, Kris Renton, Gray. Subs: Porteous, McKenna, Gordon.

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