Monday 29th January
Saints defeated Albion Rovers 4-0 this evening to progress into the next round of the Scottish Cup. Tommy Wright made several changes this evening including handing a debut to Jason Kerr whilst Kyle McClean was given his first start. U20s midfielder Ally McCann also made his debut during the second half when he came on for Murray Davidson.
Chris Kane opened the scoring after 3 minutes when he volleyed the ball high into the net. Saints doubled their advantage on 52 minutes when Kyle McClean side footed the ball past Kieran Wright in the home goal after Kane had delivered a great ball into the box.
Kane got his second and Saints third of the evening 5 minutes later when he headed home a Liam Craig cross from close range. The Saints striker completed his hat-trick on 70 minutes when he took advantage of poor defensive play by the home side before slotting the ball through the legs of Wright.
It was third time lucky this evening as Saints Scottish Cup tie against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill got the go ahead. After Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at home to Partick Thistle Tommy Wright said he would make changes for tonight’s game and the Saints manager was true to his word making eight changes. Out went Zander Clark, Aaron Comrie, Steven Anderson, Chris Millar, Steven MacLean, David Wotherspoon, Stefan Scougall and Keith Watson. They were replaced by Alan Mannus, Blair Alston, Murray Davidson, Jason Kerr, Paul Paton, Kyle McClean, Liam Gordon and Chris Kane. Albion Rovers manager Brian Kerr made three changes to his team that started Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at home to Stranraer as Daniel Lightbody, Michael McMullan and Joao Victoria came in for Alan Reid, Daniel Baur and Callum MacDonald.
Albion Rovers got the match underway but it was Saints who took the lead after 3 minutes. Joe Shaughnessy’s long throw was not dealt with at the near post by the Rovers defence and when it fell to Chris Kane he volleyed the ball high into the net.
The home side created their first chance of the game on 10 minutes when Michael McMullan floated an inviting ball into the box that looked like reaching Joao Victoria but Murray Davidson just got to it before him to clear the danger.
On 14 minutes Kyle McClean’s corner from the left was cleared only as far as Paul Paton whose effort didn’t trouble Kieran Wright in the home goal.
Rovers created a half chance on 21 minutes when Connor Shields had a shot at goal but it was easily gathered by Alan Mannus.
Shields was the first player in referee Mat Northcroft’s book following a poor challenge on Liam Craig on 28 minutes. Then a minute later Ross Davidson was booked for foul on Murray Davidson on the halfway line.
On 35 minutes Mannus had to look lively as he saved a 30-yard effort from Ross Davidson.
With 4 minutes of the first half remaining Saints were appealing for a penalty after Kane went down in the box however, Mat Northcroft waved play on. Then just before half time a long throw into the Rovers box by Shaughnessy was only cleared as far as Blair Alston who knocked the ball down to Kane but the striker fired wide of Wright’s goal.
Saints got the second half underway but it was the home side that threatened first as Shields ran the length of the pitch before seeing his low cross into the Saints box cut-out by Liam Gordon.
The action switched very quickly to the other end and Jason Kerr, who was making his debut for Saints, attempted an ambitious overhead kick after the ball had broken to him from a free kick but it was well held by Wright.
On 52 minutes Kane showed great strength to hold off the challenge from his marker before breaking down the right. The striker then delivered a great low ball into the box and it was knocked into the net from 8 yards by Kyle McClean, who had timed his run into the box to perfection. It was Kyle’s first goal for the club.
The game was then over as a contest 5 minutes later as Craig’s cross from the left picked out Kane who powered a great header past Wright for his second and Saints third of the evening.
Saints were now dominating the game and Alston had a chance to make it 4 on 62 minutes however, he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
The first change of the game came on 68 minutes when Aaron Comrie came on for Blair Alston. Then 2 minutes later Saints got a fourth as Kane capitalised on a poor back pass by McMullan and slotted the ball through Wright’s legs to complete his hat-trick.
Before Rovers could get the game back underway Saints made a change as they gave a debut to 18-year-old midfielder Ally McCann, replacing Murray Davidson.
Saints continued to press and on 77 minutes Wright made a good save to deny Gordon after the defender made a good connection with a Liam Craig corner.
As the match entered added on time Ally McCann powered his way into the Rovers box before having a shot at goal but he couldn’t get enough power in his effort as Wright saved. Then up the other end Rovers had one final chance to get on the scoresheet however, McMullan’s header was well gathered by Alan Mannus as Saints eased into the next round.
Albion Rovers: Wright, Fisher, McLaughlin, Lightbody, McMullan, Holmes (O’Kane 82), Shields, Davidson, Victoria (Guthrie 74), Higgins (Watters 74), McLeish
Unused Substitutes: Potts (GK), McCann, Gallagher, Queen
Booked: Shields, Davidson
Saints: Mannus, Alston (Comrie 68), Shaughnessy, Davidson (McCann 72), Kerr, Johnstone, Paton, McClean, Gordon, Kane (Wotherspoon 82), Craig
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Anderson, MacLean, Scougall
Scorers: Kane (3, 57, 70), McClean (52)
Referee: Mat Northcroft
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Kyle McClean scores Saints second goal of the evening
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