'The players were magnificent' - Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott hails his troops for reaching cup final after classic

Gala Fairydean Rovers gaffer Martin Scott has led his team to 2022’s East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final after a hard-fought semi-final win at Kinnoull on Saturday.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:36 pm
Martin Scott is delighted to have steered Gala Fairydean Rovers into cup final (Pic by Bill McBurnie)

Second-half goals by Zander Murray and Liam Campbell twice, the second of them an overhead kick in the 93rd minute, took it to extra time for Rovers after playing for 20 minutes with 10 men following Lewis Hall’s sending-off.

Murray looked to have secured the win when he scored again on 119 minutes, but Kinnoull netted a penalty in the dying seconds of extra time to make it 4-4 and force a penalty shootout, won 4-3 by Gala, with keeper Josh Blair, 17, saving two spot kicks and recent signing Kyle Wilkie slotting home the winner.

“It was a very exciting game,” Scott told us. “It had everything – a sending-off, extra-time goals, last-minute goals and penalty kicks.

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“The players were magnificent. The way Liam scored that overhead kick was unbelievable.

“One of the guys made a comment in our group chat that Liam scored two goals and managed to do three knee slides in one game, which is very impressive. He was quite ecstatic to get the second goal.

“It was a wee shock to the system when Kinnoull took the lead – we were trailing 1-0 at half-time – but the guys played particularly well.

“They kept their nerve, kept probing and got us back into the game.

“Before the penalties, we just said to the boys ‘regain your composure’. The guys all struck their penalties really well.

“Kyle is a new addition who has played for Hamilton in the Scottish Premier League and Livingston in the Championship so he’s a very composed player. He’s probably been the missing link in recent weeks. He showed his class with the penalty and just tucked it home.

"I was just delighted to get into the final."

East of Scotland Football League premier division outfit Linlithgow Rose will be Rovers’ final opponents on a date still to be decided.

“If you get to the final, it gives you a chance,” Scott said. “I’m confident if we can apply ourselves and perform to our capabilities, then we’ll have a really good chance.”

The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup has not been seen at Netherdale for 26 years, so Scott is eager to bring it back.