Gala Fairydean 5
Golspie Sutherland 2
WILLIAM HIILL SCOTTISH CUP
KEVIN JANIAK reports from Albert Park
ON A normal working day, Jack Hay stacks shelves at his local Tesco store.
But in the Scottish Cup, the 17-year-old has been stacking up goals for Gala Fairydean, so much so that the youngster is the leading scorer in the whole competition after securing a hat-trick against both Hawick Royal Albert and Golspie Sutherland.
Hay’s motivation? Fairly simple.
He told us: “I like to play football and I like to score goals.
“We’ll obviously hope to stay away from the better teams in the third-round draw, but we’ll give anyone a game if we play well.
“A home tie will be nice as the new 3G surface is looking good at the moment and it will be great if it is ready for the next round.”
And he’s no longer ploughing a lonely aisle for the Dean either, with Craig Livingstone finally beating injury to rattle in their two other goals on Saturday as well as running the show up front, displaying many a silky touch.
It has to be said that this was the perfect draw at the perfect time for the Gala side.
Golspie were severely lacking in fitness throughout and were missing their entire central defence, with one being disqualified after a straight red card in their previous game and the other, captain Adam Sutherland, taking the weekend off to attend a wedding in Shetland.
However, the Highland men started the better outfit. After Aaron Smith forced Elliot Turnbull into making a good save, Sean Kerr began to produce some dangerously telling runs into the box, only being let down by poor deliveries.
And when Jay Wilson took out Thomas Campbell from behind just outside the box, Turnbull saved Gala’s blushes with a fingertip save from Aaron Christie’s free kick.
But Livingstone and Hay were just warming up, putting together some lovely plays with one-touch passes and sharp running.
All that was missing was a goal, but it came in the 21st minute, Wilson releasing Hay in the box, who blasted the ball beyond the reach of Stephen Campbell in the Golspie goal.
It could have been two shortly after, as Craig Lothian’s long ball was taken on by Livingstone, who confidently beat two defenders and rounded the keeper, only to shoot into the side netting.
With 36 minutes gone, Hay did make it two, following a scintillating run into the box and a strong strike.
Only a minute later at the other end, Gala’s Paul Young was harshly penalised for handball in the box as he slid along the ground, referee Brian Winter pointing to the spot. Kerr sent Turnbull the wrong way with the penalty and it was only 2-1 to Gala at half-time.
However, the travelling amateurs were by now almost dead on their feet and it only seemed to be a matter of time until Gala scored again.
Their fans only had two minutes into the second half to wait. Craig McBride’s superb long pass reaching Livingstone, who took it wide, drawing in the keeper and the last defender, before sidestepping to his right and slicing the ball into the top corner.
Then, after 58 minutes, Geri Rossi’s free kick was flicked into the net via the back of Livingstone’s head in a moment of sheer class.
Sub Grant Gass tried to get in on the scoring act, but his lob was cleared off the line by Christie.
Golspie’s replacements were also showing up well, and unexpectedly narrowed the gap when Gavin Nicholson thumped home Stuart Thomson’s headed cross.
This was a tricky period for Gala, with the visitors enjoying a bit of a purple patch and forcing several corners, but Hay took the pressure off by notching his third.
It came from another long ball, this time from Turnbull, and the sprightly teenager kept a cool head to turn the keeper and Thomson to score.
After the game, Fairies captain Rossi praised the performances of their new strike dream team.
He told TheSouthern: “Craig’s been out for a good while but he and Jack were fantastic up front for us today and I think that was the main difference.
“You have to hand it to Golspie as well, they came along today and put up as strong a fight as they could be expected to, so it was a good match to watch.
“They had a couple of tricky guys up front that caused us a few problems, but we deserved our win.”
And Golspie boss Ricky Michelek said: “We are normally quite tight at the back but we lost five quite amateurish goals.
“The two main laddies up front were sharp and without them I think we could have matched the Fairydean.”
Gala boss Fraser Lothian was understandably delighted.
He added: “We were so much in control of the game I was a wee bit disappointed to lose the second goal, but every player did their job.
“To win 5-2 in the second round of the Scottish Cup is fantastic. That’s 13 goals we have scored over the two rounds and I can’t ask for more than that.
“It’s a huge financial boost for the club.””
Gala Fairydean: E. Turnbull, G. Hay, A. Brown, G. Lothian, C. McBride, P. Young (G. Gass 67; J. Wilson (A. Jackson 67); G. Rossi, C. Livingstone (B. Hunter 76), A. Brunton, J. Hay.