Gala Fairydean Rovers 0, Elgin City 4
Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Stevie Noble lavished praised on Elgin City as the impressive League Two side proved far too strong for their Scottish Cup hosts.
City were 4-0 up after 47 minutes of this second-round tie and could well have made it an embarrassing scoreline for Gala.
But wayward finishing and some resistance from Fairydean Rovers ensured the Netherdale men kept some respectability.
Nevertheless, Noble acknowledged the difference in class between the two sides.
He said: “Elgin are a very good side with experienced players. They have won their last four away league games and are second in League Two.
“We started pretty positively but Elgin then got on top. I can’t argue with the final result.
“We made some mistakes but I can’t fault my players for their efforts.”
This was Gala’s biggest game since facing Clyde in the Scottish Cup three years ago.
On that occasion, Gala lost 3-0 but they could well have chalked up their first ever Scottish Cup goal against SPFL opposition when Dean McColm made his way into the Elgin penalty box after two minutes, only to fire over.
Gala passed the ball well in the early stages but, gradually, Jim Weir’s men began to control the game and top scorer Shane Sutherland hit the post to send a warning to Gala.
It wasn’t heeded, however, as Sutherland was given far too much room to control the ball and calmly finish from 10 yards in the 14th minute for his eighth goal of the season.
Worse was to follow on 21 minutes. A misplaced cross gave Gala captain Billy Miller the chance to clear the ball or pass back to goalkeeper Kieran Wright. He chose the latter, which saw the ball bounce past Wright’s right foot and sneak into the net for an awful own goal.
Sutherland then did brilliantly to battle past Taylor Hope and produce an outstanding cross for Craig McLeish to score Elgin’s third in the 31st minute.
When midfielder Brian Cameron made it 4-0 with a smart finish from a tight angle two minutes after half time, spectators were wondering by how many Fairydean Rovers would lose.
Yet, Gala fought back and should have scored themselves when on-loan Hibs player Adam Watson – the stand-out performer for the hosts - set up McColm, who somehow screwed wide with the goal gaping.
Sutherland hit the bar with a header and Wright made a smart save from Mark Nicolson’s free kick to keep Elgin to four.
But Gala were even denied a consolation as Miller’s audacious 35-yard shot thumped off City’s crossbar and bounced to safety, which pretty much summed up their afternoon.
Gala Fairydean Rovers: K. Wright, L. Stephen, B. Miller, S. Main, T. Hope (G. Windram 59), D. McColm (S. Bonnington 86), D. Smith, A. Watson, S. Noble, S. Paliczka (K. Collins 45), D. Bonnar.