'He just made save after save' - Gala Fairydean Rovers midfielder Marc Berry gutted as keeper's stops deny Rovers in cup final loss to Linlithgow Rose

Gala Fairydean Rovers midfielder Marc Berry reckons that the fine display of Linlithgow Rose goalkeeper Lewis McMinn in Gala's 3-1 East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final defeat to Rose on Sunday was reminiscent of the brilliance of Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois the previous evening.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 2:02 pm
Marc Berry is thwarted by Linlithgow keeper Lewis McMinn (Pics by Thomas Brown)
Marc Berry is thwarted by Linlithgow keeper Lewis McMinn (Pics by Thomas Brown)

Courtois made a succession of outstanding saves to deny Liverpool as Real prevailed 1-0 in the Champions League final in Paris and ex-Rangers under-20 keeper McMinn, 24, proved to be a similarly impenetrable barrier as Gala dominated the majority of the second half at Penicuik Park having been fortunate to get in at half-time at 1-1.

"The keeper has played really well in the second half," Berry said.

"We had chance after chance and he just made save after save, we couldn’t get by him.

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Delighted Gala players celebrate after Zander Murray's equaliser

"It was a bit like the Champions League final where Liverpool were probably the better team but Courtois played well and then Real scored their chance.

"We had chances in the second half and should maybe have been two or three goals in front before they scored again. I had one myself midway through the second half I probably should have scored.

"Ryan Schiavone played the ball across to me maybe six yards out and I've just thought if I make contact I score but somehow the keeper's got across and blocked it with his foot. It was a good save.

"We never took our chances and they took theirs at the end of the game so they were probably deserved winners.”

Rovers ace Murray advances towards Linlithgow goal

Despite Gala’s dominance later on, it was Linlithgow who had bossed the first half and missed chances before deservedly taking the lead through Alan Docherty’s strike on 40 minutes.

But Rovers equalised on the stroke of half-time through Zander Murray’s shot and then gained the ascendancy after the break.

A controversial second half incident saw Gala have a penalty kick appeal rejected after Ryan Schiavone went down under a challenge from onrushing keeper McMinn.

And Docherty’s low shot put Rose back ahead on 84 minutes before Sean Heaver clinched a 3-1 win for his side with an angled strike late on.

The result left Gala players understandably devastated.

"With Gala Fairydean Rovers only being founded in 2013 we thought it was our chance to make history by becoming its first cup winners,” Berry said.

"Obviously it wasn’t to be on the day but it was good for the club to get there and it kind of makes you happy to go again next season and lift the cup.”

Goalscorer Murray revealed he was almost in tears after the defeat, adding: “I felt like greeting after the game, it was brutal.

"We were missing some key men so had a lot of boys playing out of position. I had been injured and couldn’t train so I took a ridiculous amount of painkillers to get through that game.

"We knew we weren’t at full strength but we gave it everything. Injuries have sort of killed us and we obviously don’t have the biggest budget.

“Linlithgow are a deadly attacking team. They took their chances and at the end of the day goals win you games.”