Souters boss insists on improved fitness

Last night's duel in the sun at Yarrow Park (picture by Grant Kinghorn)

Last night's duel in the sun at Yarrow Park (picture by Grant Kinghorn)

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The Scottish Cup captured most of the attention on Tuesday night as it accompanied Hibernian U20s to Yarrow Park.

But Selkirk manager Garry O’Connor has demanded an improvement in fitness from his squad, should they wish to have a silver lining to their season.

The Souters tested their Easter Road visitors in the first half but ran out of steam on a balmy night in the Royal Burgh, conceding four goals in the second period for an eventual 5-1 defeat.

And O’Connor is demanding more.

He said: “We were run ragged at times and Hibs’ fitness levels were better than ours through the game.

“We have two weeks until the start of the league season and we need to improve our fitness.

“We still have five or six players to come back and we are talking to a couple of others about signing so, come the start of the season, we should be ready.”

O’Connor started former East Stirling defender Ricky Miller, who played in midfield, with Dan Greig and Ross King both missing.

He played alongside former Hibee Andrew Fleming, and, with ex-Hibs youngsters Phil Addison and Jay Doyle also in the Selkirk line-up, and O’Connor on the sidelines, there were plenty of connections between the clubs.

But this was far from a tame friendly, with referee Duncan Smith telling O’Connor to take off striker Gary McCormack in the closing stages, much to the manager’s annoyance.

Selkirk should have been ahead as both Doyle and Miller failed to convert great chances, allowing Oliver Shaw to give the visitors the lead on 22 minutes after his initial header was saved by Daniel Terry.

A sweet finish by Hibs’ stand-out player Jamie Insall made it 2-0 on the hour mark, and Lewis Allan, who hails from Melrose, made it 3-0 a minute later.

McCormack continued his superb pre-season form by beating Hibs’ backline and rounding 42-year-old keeper Allan Combe to make it 3-1 on 63 minutes.

But Jamie Mackie’s low free kick restored the Hibees’ three-goal lead with 20 minutes left.

Aaron Dunsmore – who spent last season on loan at Edinburgh City – then scored the goal of the game, after powering on to Mackie’s superb pass and finishing well on 75 minutes.

It could have been worse for Selkirk, but both Jamie Gullan and Kevin Waugh hit the same Selkirk post with free kicks in the closing stages.

Selkirk: D. Terry (K. Proctor 45), M. Samson (M. Collin 56), J. Moyes (R. Scott 70), J. Harley, C. McDiarmid, R. Miller, A. Fleming, B. Fairgrieve (J. Butler 68), G. McCormack, J. Doyle (K. Scott 65), P. Addison.