No sour grapes from Rose boss after Cup heartache

Auchinleck Talbot 2Linlithgow Rose 1

DAVE BAIKIE may have been disappointed to see his Linlithgow side lose their grip on the Emirates Scottish Cup but there was no hint of sour grapes as he summed up two cracking ties between these Junior giants.

After scoring a last-gasp goal to force this replay, Auchinleck did it again, only grabbing the winner this time as John Boyle shot home in injury-time despite the home side being down to ten men.

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"We've lost a goal 45 minutes and 10 seconds into the second-half, having seen them do exactly the same in the first game last week," said Baikie afterwards.

"But, over the two games, I think Auchlinleck deserved to win and the best team are through to the next round.

"I thought they were the hungrier side and every time they got in the last third they were more threatening than us so I've got no complaints."

Auchinleck totally dominated the first-half and thoroughly deserved to open the scoring in the 22nd minute, even though the goal was a complete disaster from a Linlithgow point of view.

Skipper John Ward could have headed a ball played into the box but ducked under it, allowing the ball to be cut back for Boyle to slot home in front of goal.

"I clearly heard our goalkeeper shouting 'away' and John Ward ducked," said Baikie when asked to explain such a soft goal. "Whether Dario Quinn, who was to the side or back of him, said something I don't know.

"It was a wrong choice as there was a clear shout from the goalkeeper to clear it. If you get a shout like that, you should clear your lines."Boyle almost added a second with a thunderous drive that smacked down off the crossbar but, against the run of play, Linlithgow got back on level terms 11 minutes before the break.

Tommy Coyne was tripped just outside the box and, not for the first time, Mark Tyrrell showed his dead ball expertise with a shot that curled around the wall to beat Andy Leishman low to his left.

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Roused, no doubt, by a half-time rollocking from their manager, the visitors looked a lot livelier after the restart and Coyne was denied by Leishman's legs when the striker had a chance to put his side ahead.

At the other end, Stephen Pinkowski pulled off a great save to deny the dangerous Boyle before Linlithgow were given a real boost as their opponents had Steven White sent off for a second bookable offence with 17 minutes to go.

But, despite throwing on Stephen Manson in a bid to try and use his threat to hurt the Auchlinleck defence, the holders failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

And, just when it seemed as though it was going to take a penalty shoot-out to separate the two teams, Boyle struck again after taking advantage of a moment's hesitancy from Ward.

The striker's initial shot was saved by Pinkowski, who also got a touch to Boyle's follow up attempt but was unable to prevent it going in off his right-hand post.

"I'm disappointed how we played, certainly the way we started and we were very lucky to go in at half-time at 1-1," added Baikie, whose side also finished with ten men after Quinn got his marching orders following a second booking in the dying seconds.

"But, at the same time, I don't want to take anything away from Auchinleck as I thought they were the better side.

"I've said to them (his players] that some clubs are 110 years old and have never been near a Scottish Cup Final. This club has won it four times and been to other finals.

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"It can't happen every year, though we'd like it to, so we've now got to regroup and attempt to win the Super League and the other Cups that are available."

Auchinleck's reward is a derby with Cumnock and, based on their two displays, Tommy Sloan has a side that is more than capable of winning that one and going on to claim the trophy.

"I thought we thoroughly deserved it. I thought we were easily the better side," said the Talbot manager. "We'd have taken a penalty shootout when it went to ten men, but I thought we always looked threatening and managed to conjure up a winner.

"It looked as though we were the hungrier side yet it didn't look that way in the first game. I thought on Saturday we had a wee edge to us."

Auchinleck Talbot: Leishman, Latta, McVey, McGoldrick, Collins, Spence (Smith 80), Young, White, McCann, Boyle, Slavin. Subs: Mallan, Davidson.

Linlithgow Rose: Pinkowski, Donnelly, Virgili, Ward, Quinn, Tyrrell, McLennan (Manson 64), Nimmo, Strickland (Manson 68), Coyne, McArthur. Subs: Adam, Nelson, Kelly, McPherson..

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