Stenhousemuir 2 Raith Rovers 0: Warriors slay full-time Fifers

Jon Robertson
Jon Robertson

Stenhousemuir put on the best performance witnessed at Ochilview since they trounced St Johnstone en-route to winning this competition in 1995 when they comfortably saw off Raith Rovers last night.

Stephen Stirling received the man-off-the-match award in the Wee Bar after the game – accompanied by Jon McShane who had his own claims for the title – but there was no shortage of contenders on a night that made the Starshot points near impossible to judge.

Stenhousemuir players celebrate taking the lead against Raith Rovers

Stenhousemuir players celebrate taking the lead against Raith Rovers

Had anyone dropped their levels a talented Raith team would surely have won, but the whole squad performed to the maximum to such an extent that it was a comfortable victory in the end.

“It was a near complete performance,” boss Brown Ferguson said. “I really was quite relaxed late on because the players to a man were exceptional and I don’t think we looked in any danger.

“There are a lot of good people at the club, on the park and off it so this is testimony to all of them.

“Everybody knows the problems we have had financially, but the board, players, fans and the staff have all pulled together and the result tonight was possible because of that.”

Iain Davidson reacts with fury after teammate Jason Thomson is sent off

Iain Davidson reacts with fury after teammate Jason Thomson is sent off

Ferguson was calm and collected despite an historic result and with staying in the Division a priority he went on: “We will enjoy the result tonight, but I and the staff will remind them how it was achieved.

“They have to remember that the things that brought the achievement have to applied in every game, they put their bodies on the line when necessary, but there is no little skill here and I think we showed that tonight.”

The gaffer went on to say: “It is great to be in the quarter final of the competition and we will await the draw on Friday. We don’t fear anyone and while a home draw would be great, if Rangers progress it would be terrific to draw them at Ibrox to boost the club’s finances.”

Both sides responded to a wonderful evening by playing sparkling football from the start. ‘Muir’s energy and enthusiasm were again impressive, but it was the Fifers who looked more likely at the sharp end early on.

Indeed, after Ryan McCord volleyed wide Craig Wighton was put clean through and it took a superb Jamie Barclay save to keep the scoreline blank.

The keeper again came to his team’s rescue when Mitch Megginson found himself in the clear off a superb McCord pass in the 13 the minute, but the ex - Aberdeen man was thwarted when the big minder stood up well to block.

The Warriors were never out of this though, and in the 18th minute could have done better than sclaff straight to Cuthbert with the home side’s first shot on target.

Brown Ferguson’s charges were bettering their Championship rivals by this time and really should have gone ahead in the 20th minute.

Jon McShane headed down into the path of Allan Smith 8 yards out only for the striker to blast rather than place and his shot crashed against the bar.

Shortly after Stuart Malcolm was desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock just before the half hour mark when he glanced a Stephen Stirling corner on at the near post, but Cuthbert, although knowing little about it, managed to block the net-bound effort.

Five minutes from the break Jon McShane was also unfortunate when he headed an Allan Cook free-kick down at the back post only to see the ball take an enormous bounce and slip over.

The Warriors started the second half as they finished the first and when they surged upfield from the kick-off and it took a brilliant Cuthbert save to deny Smith’s searing shot finding the net.

Stenny continued to pen the visitors in after a spell of pinball and blocked shots it was remarkable that the Raith goal remained intact.

Well, until the 66th minute that is.

A sweeping move up the right finished with Cook hitting a McShane lay-off in off the base of the far post from the left edge of the box.

Craig Wighton saw a header come back of the post at the other end, but Stenny were well worth their lead and it was no surprise when the doubled the advantage in the 71st minute.

Stirling wide on the right spotted Cuthbert off his line and the midfielder flighted a beauty over the minder and into the onion bag.

As the match progressed to the end the Warriors continued to dominate and at no time looked under pressure, indeed, such was Raith’s frustration that it boiled over in the 90th minute when Jason Thomson was given a straight red for felling Stirling.

It was well and truly finished by that time though, and it was a pity that only 449 people turned out for what was a smashing game with a fairytale finish.