Rob Roy beat Musselburgh to reach last 16 of Scottish

Shaun Fraser nets Rob Roy's opener
Shaun Fraser nets Rob Roy's opener

Rob Roy’s decision to switch their Scottish Junior Cup tie with Musselburgh Athletic to a neutral venue paid off as they made it into the last 16.

With doubts over whether Guy’s Meadow would be playable Rabs decided early in the week to play the fourth round match on the artificial surface at Benburb’s New Tinto Park.

And it proved a wise move as, under the floodlights in Govan, they earned a battling victory against a well organised Musselburgh Athletic side to book a fifth round trip to Penicuik this Saturday.

Rob Roy were boosted by the return of top scorer Willie Sawyers, out since November with a thigh injury.

But it was Musselburgh should have taken a seventh minute lead when Jed Davie carved out a chance for himself but the winger sent his hurried shot wide of Jordan Brown’s left hand post.

As Rabs began to pressure the East Region side Willie Sawyers, Lee Gallacher and Chris Duff all had efforts at goal blocked before the Athletic defence managed to scramble the ball to safety.

Musselburgh - beaten finalists in 2011 and 2015 - were playing attractive passing football but were unable to break down Rabs’ strong central defence.

And in the 29th minute the Kirkintilloch side edged themselves in front with a terrific goal.

Shaun Fraser broke in from the right before sending a ferocious drive high into the corner of the net, giving Athletic’s keeper Kieron Renton no chance. Before the half time break Brown made a fine save from Ewan Ralton to ensure his side went in with a half-time lead.

Athletic came out for the second period showing more purpose and equalised three minutes into the half when striker Mathu King ran through before despatching the ball under the Rabs keeper.

And in the 62nd minute the impressive Sean Murphy squandered a chance to put his side in front when, through on goal, he fired a shot over the Rob Roy bar.

They were punished for that miss a minute later when Rabs restored their lead.

A powerful volley from Sawyers was parried by Renton but man of the match Fraser was quickest to react and promptly hammered the loose ball into the net.

Both sides were making chances in what was a decent cup tie, King firing well off target for Athletic before Gary McMenamin curled his shot just over the bar after clever leading up work from Danny Mackenzie.

In a period of Rabs pressure a Sawyers header from a Gallacher cross drifted over the bar.

Substitute Gavin Mackie’s angular chip then also went over the bar before Gallacher headed a Fraser cross over from 10 yards as Rabs went out to finish the tie as a contest.

Time was running out for the Lothian side and they threw players forward in an attempt to salvage a replay.

But despite Musselburgh crossing two stoppage time corner kicks into a vastly overcrowded Rabs penalty box, the home defence stood firm to secure a place in the last 16 of the national trophy and an away tie against Penicuik Athletic - another East Region Superleague side - on Saturday.