By Craig Stewart
Falkirk prove too strong for Lowland League Linlithgow Rose.
Falkirk have comfortably beaten Linlithgow Rose to progress to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup in Lee Millar and David McCracken’s first game in charge.
Two goals from Conor Sammon either side of Tommy Coyne’s equaliser put Falkirk ahead at the break. Declan McManus scored Falkirk’s third with 12 minutes remaining from a Paul Dixon cross, before provider then turned scorer when Dixon tapped in to seal the win.
Over 1,700 fans packed into a sold-out Prestonfield for a hotly anticipated local derby in the Scottish Cup, live on BBC Scotland.
The home side came through four ties to get to this stage, beating the University of Stirling in the previous round whereas Falkirk were entering the competition at this stage.
The Bairns sacked manager Ray McKinnon hours after the club drew against Dumbarton last Saturday and were quick to appoint, Lee Millar and David McCracken as interim co-managers.
The management duo started with a 3-5-2 formation bringing in, Conor Sammon and Lewis Toshney to replace Aidan Connolly and Charlie Telfer.
The fairy-tale start that Linlithgow would have been looking for wasn’t in the script, as Falkirk opened the scoring in the 8th minute.
Declan McManus dispossessed Linlithgow’s full-back McKinlay and played the ball out to Conor Sammon, who peeled of the defender, and the Republic of Ireland International took two touches before slotting the ball under the on-rushing Falkirk keeper.
The Lowland League side’s first real foray into the Falkirk half led to a corner being awarded in the 20th minute.
The in-swinging corner was glanced on at the front post by Ross Allum, as the ball bounced across the six-yard box before finding the feet of Linlithgow Rose’s all-time leading goal scorer, Tommy Coyne, who bundled the ball over the line from a few yards out.
The goal put Linlithgow level against the League One opposition much to the delight of the home supporters, who had turned out in large numbers eager for a memorable Friday evening.
Falkirk pressed Linlithgow straight from the restart and the pressure paid off when a floated cross from Scotland International, Paul Dixon, found his former Dundee United team-mate, Morgaro Gomis, who nodded the ball down and following a missed overhead kick from Declan McManus the ball found Sammon 8 yards out.
The striker side footed the ball back across the goalkeeper into the bottom corner for his second of the game.
The Linlithgow defence found guilty of being flat-footed with the vastly experienced Sammon drifting into space after laying the ball off for Dixon’s cross, the target man stood unmarked and sent the Bairns back into the lead.
The Scottish Cup trophy is the oldest trophy in association football as recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. -Source: Scottish Cup Twitter
The second half started with several hand-ball penalty claims from both sides, which were all waved away by referee Grant Irvine.
Falkirk looked lively with most of the action coming down their left-wing with Paul Dixon providing several dangerous crosses into the box.
Declan McManus sealed Falkirk’s progression into the fourth round, latching onto another Paul Dixon delivery just inside the penalty box, McManus powered past the defender with some tidy footwork and slipped the ball under Michael McKinven in the Linlithgow goal.
Man of the Match, Paul Dixon capped off a convincing victory with Falkirk’s fourth goal of the game in the 85th minute, tapping the ball into an empty net after McKinven could only parry Sammon’s left-footed effort straight into the path of birthday boy Dixon.
Paul Dixon showed his quality throughout the 90 minutes and the experienced left back was presented with a bottle of champagne at the end of the match. A delighted Dixon kicking off his 33rd birthday celebration in style.
Paul Dixon celebrates his Man of the Match performance and his 33rd birthday. -Source: Ian Sneddon Falkirk FC Twitter
Falkirk will find out their opponents for the fourth round this Sunday, 24 November.