Gala Fairydean Rovers 0-2 Keith

By Callum Hodgson

at Netherdale

GUTTED Gala gaffer Steven Noble apologised after his side fell at the first hurdle in the Scottish Cup on Saturday.

The Fairydean Rovers enjoyed success against Highland League opposition in the first round last season.

But goals from James Brownie and Ryan Whelan in the opening 45 ensured it was Keith who progressed to the next stage.

A deflated Noble told the Border Telegraph: “Keith have had a very poor season, but they were better than us today. They took their chances when they came, but it’s been the story of this last month.

“I’m really disappointed. I’m disappointed for the supporters and everyone involved with the club. Especially the committee because the Scottish Cup is a huge thing for our club and I can only apologise to everybody.

“It’s really sickening, but we’re going to have to try and pick ourselves up and go again.”

It took Gala just five minutes to begin creating chances. Hibs loanees Jamie Gullan and Adam Watson linked up well, with the latter firing just wide of David Dey’s goal.

The visitors were convinced they should have had a penalty just minutes later when Lee Stephen brought down Ryan Spink in the box, but referee Ryan Oliver had no interest in the appeals.

And Spink should have scored soon after. Brownlie crossed in from the right, Donald Fraser headed on to the 20-year-old but Spink’s effort was deflected wide.

Gullan was a standout player for Gala causing the Maroons’ defence problems all afternoon.

But it was Keith who took the lead on 31 minutes. Fraser knocked in a ball from the right, and there was Brownie on the edge of the six-yard box to prod home.

And they were celebrating again just nine minutes later. Fraser picked out Spink on the left, he crossed in and Whelan tucked home to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at half time.

Noble made a couple of substitutions soon after the break. Grant Rose on loan from Berwick Rangers and Ross Aitchison came on to try and give Gala more cutting edge in the final third, but to no avail.

Aitchison came close twice, but couldn’t find the net.

Billy Miller also missed the target as did Rose who flicked a Gullan corner past the upright.

Keith substitute Scott Begg could have made it 3-0 one minute before the whistle when Cameron Keith picked him out on the break, but the damage had already been done.

Gala: L Muir, L Stephen, B Miller, S Main, K Ainslie (C Heugh 68), D Bonnar, D Smith (R Aitchison 60), J Gullan, S Noble, R Craigie (G Rose 57), A Watson. Subs not used: G Windram, D Brown, S Paliczka, M Walters.