Rob Roy progressed to the semi-final of the West of Scotland Cup after overcoming a resolute East KilbrideThistle side, reports Neil Anderson.
The Guy’s Meadow encounter with League One opponents gave Rabs some welcome relief from their battle for Premiership survival.
In a nervous opening period defences were on top as both sides tested each other out.
Rob Roy threatened in the 11th minute Jordan Currie-McLean headed a Lee Gallacher cross wide.
Thistle replied with a long range effort from Scott Gillespie that went wide before Gallacher set up Currie-McLean again but his hurried shot went over.
East Kilbride looked dangerous on the break and Scott Hadden’s cross found Craig Tocher in front of goal but good defending from Cameron Clark cleared the danger.
In the 34th minute the Roy thought they had taken the lead when Scott Forrester headed home but his effort was ruled out for offside.
However shortly after Rabs took the lead from the penalty spot. Following a Willie Sawyers lay off, Martin McBride was upended in the box by a high challenge and Gallacher stepped up to send the ball low under keeper Ross Meldrum.
Referee Anderson’s decision to award the penalty kick frustrated the East Kilbride bench, resulting in manager Steven McClung being sent to the pavilion.
Two minutes from the break the Roy doubled their advantage when Gallacher found himself free in the box to guide the ball past Meldrum after good link up play with Sawyers.
Gallacher was denied his hat-trick five minutes after the restart when his low shot crashed off the upright.
A minute later Currie-McLean’s downward header from a Sawyers’ cross was taken well by Meldrum.
However the keeper was left helpless moments later when McBride latched on to a Gallacher cross to steer the ball home.
To their credit Thistle continued to push forward and Gillespie’s goal bound shot was blocked before Martyn McLaughlin had a free header that went wide.
Rob Roy were fortunate that East Kilbride continued to pass up on their scoring chances, Tocher failing to control the ball in front of an open goal and McLaughlin’s 20 yard free kick going narrowly past.
Following a period of scrappy play it was the home side wh found the net again when substitute Connor Hughes headed a Gallacher cross past Meldrum.
Nevertheless Thistle were rewarded in the 77th minute when substitute Jonathon Diack met a cross from the right and guided the ball low into John Hutchison’s right hand corner.
In the closing minutes, with Rabs now coasting in to next Saturday’s semi final, Gallacher’s corner kick hit the inside of Meldrum’s post before being scrambled clear. Then substitute Gavin Mackie broke free and attempted to chip the ball in to the net but his effort was easily taken by Meldrum.
Credit goes to East Kilbride Thistle for making it a difficult cup-tie for the home side, but it is Rob Roy who will now travel to Ayrshire to play Auchinleck Talbot in the semi final.