'It was good entertainment' - Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott on bizarre free-kick conceded in cup play-off derby win at Vale of Leithen

Tuesday night’s 3-0 Lowland League Cup play-off victory for Gala Fairydean Rovers at local rivals Vale of Leithen – which puts Rovers into the quarter-finals – featured a bizarre incident with the score at 1-0 for Gala.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 11:23 am
Gala Fairydean Rovers defender Callum Hall challenging for a ball against Broomhill on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Gala Fairydean Rovers defender Callum Hall challenging for a ball against Broomhill on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The away side – who ultimately triumphed thanks to goals by Zander Murray on three minutes, Ryan Schiavone on 78 minutes and Arron Darge after 83 minutes - conceded an indirect free-kick just six yards in front of goal when their keeper Kit McRitchie inexplicably flouted the rules by picking the ball up again after dropping it from his hands.

"That was very interesting,” Rovers boss Martin Scott told the Southern Reporter. “Kit was under pressure from one of their players, dropped the ball and picked it back up again. I think it was just an immediate reaction, human nature, so he conceded an indirect free-kick.

"It was good entertainment I must say.

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Gala Fairydean Rovers' Liam Campbell taking on Broomhill defender Jordan Duncan (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

"Vale of Leithen took the indirect free-kick and we managed to block it but the referee let them retake it because of an encroachment on the ball.

"They got to take the free-kick again so it was heart in the mouth for another couple of minutes and then we defended the situation really well so that was pleasing.”

Despite that dramatic sequence, it was a relatively stress-free evening overall for Gala who at time of going to press were still to find out their last eight opponents.

"It was a pretty comfortable night,” Scott added.Going 1-0 up three minutes into the game probably settled us down early.

Gala Fairydean Rovers' Ciaren Chalmers vying for possession with Broomhill's Euan Griffiths (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

"I thought at half-time we could still have been a wee bit more clinical and had a wee bit more quality in the final third so I asked the guys to go out and do that in the second half. The cup competitions have been more favourable to us this season than the league.”

Three days before the Vale clash, Rovers lost 3-1 at home to Broomhill in the Scottish Lowland Football League, going 3-0 down in the second half before Ciaren Chalmers pulled a goal back late on.

"I think there was a wee bit of a sluggishness about us in that game,” Scott said. "I think maybe the highs of the midweek game (a 2-0 home East of Scotland Qualifying Cup quarter-final victory over Dundonald Bluebell last Wednesday night) had taken its toll on the players.

"So it’s something I have to look at myself in terms of possibly I should have freshened things up.

Ross Aitchison on the ball for Gala Fairydean Rovers against Broomhill at Netherdale on Saturday (Pic: Bill McBurnie)

"I thought going with the same team was the right decision at the time but I think maybe fresh legs coming into Saturday’s game would have been more beneficial for us.

"We kind of gifted to goals to them but credit to them because their manager David Gormley had to go in goal for them after a late call-off when their number one keeper had to work at that time and their under-20 keeper pulled out at the last minute. But that seemed to galvanise them, give them that energy and lift and they stuck to their task very well.”

Gala play Rangers B at Dumbarton in the league this Friday night, before travelling to Haddington Athletic or Kinnoull – who had their quarter-final tie after we went to press on Wednesday – in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup semi-finals next Tuesday night.