Danny Smith’s hopes of inflicting Linlithgow Rose’s second consecutive defeat in 51 games failed to come true as the Scottish Cup finalists avenged their disappointment with a thumping Fife and Lothians Cup win over the Mariners.
Goals from Blair Batchelor, Colin Allison and Stevie Graham couldn’t prevent the Mariners from tasting defeat at Bathgate’s Creamery Park.
Rose sealed the victory with a pair of goals either side of the half-time interval in a pulsating match.
However, Smith praised his side after a season which has included a third-placed finish, an Emirates Scottish Cup quarter final and the Fife and Lothians Cup final.
“Every season we ask for a better one than the one gone by – this season has definitely done that, though they have given themselves a tough one to follow next year,” the Carmuirs Park boss told The Falkirk Herald.
“The improvement this year has been a real plus point, and we’ve come a long way in a short space of time. I think we are close to being a team challenging for things and in cup finals like this one, rather than fighting relegation.
“Although it was a disappointing result we gave Linlithgow a game and have done in each of the three games we’ve met them, we ran them close again.
“A couple of the goals we lost were soft, but we’ll learn and pick up experience from it.”
Linlithgow took the lead after six minutes when Colin Strickland mopped up the rebound from Tommy Coyne’s strike that was blocked by Michael Watson.
It was a similar scenario when Callum Smith swept in after the goalkeeper had foiled the former Dumbarton striker again.
Camelon responded with a great free-kick from Blair Batchelor 20 yards out, then levelled through Colin Allison but Coyne finally found the net shortly before half-time.
“We were still in it at 3-2,” added Smith. “But the goal so quickly afterwards took the game away from us.” That strike, three minutes after the resumption came from Ruari McLennan and Smith added his second for 5-2 and Stevie Graham scored a consolation for the Mariners to leave the score 5-3 in the West Lothian side’s favour.