Selkirk 1

East Kilbride 5

David Knox at Yarrow Park

SELKIRK’S loyal bunch of supporters must have thought Christmas had come early on Saturday as Sean McKirdy delivered an unexpected gift.

But the former Hearts midfielder’s 25-yard screamer was quickly forgotten as the Grinches from East Kilbride made sure there was to be little festive cheer for the Yarrow Park supporters with a dominant second-half display.

Selkirk manager Ian Fergus told us: “I thought we were the better team in the first half but in the second half we became heavy legged and allowed them to get on top.

“Getting beat by East Kilbride in the cup is not a big deal for us – we want to concentrate on the league – but good luck to them in the next round.

“They are a good team and that’s the level we need to be at for the full 90 minutes.”

With Yarrow Park frozen solid on Friday, Fergus took a gamble by playing several of his young stars in his Under 20s team’s 7-3 victory over Burntisland.

But it was to backfire as an overnight thaw allowed the Qualifying Cup second round clash to go ahead the following day.

Despite the tired legs Selkirk still looked sharp in the opening exchanges.

McKirdy’s cross was deflected inches wide of his own goal by Sean Winter inside the third minute.

But only a Murray Christie goalline header prevented Martin McBride’s overhead kick reaching the other net just 10 minutes later.

Selkirk made the breakthrough on 17 minutes.

Daryl Healy’s headed flick-on was chested into the path of McKirdy by George Hunter a good five yards outside the area, and the former Scotland age-group player smashed an incredible shot into the top corner.

There were strong appeals for a home penalty just two minutes later as Ryan Sclater’s cross hit the hand of Adam Strachan.

And on 20 minutes Healy shaved the crossbar with header as Selkirk continued to press.

Hunter went even closer on the half hour as he clipped the front post with a header from a Christie corner.

But Kilby had looked dangerous on the break.

Strachan’s pace had taken him past two defenders before Reece Donaldson managed to deflect his effort onto the roof of the net.

And just five minutes before the interval Strachan delivered a terrific angled freekick for Winter to send a glancing header into the bottom corner of the net.

It had been a thrilling 45 minutes of football.

But the contest ended with three goals in the space of five minutes for the visitors as Selkirk began to tire.

Gregor Amos had already made a couple of excellent saves before Winter turned in Anthony Wallace’s cross on 57 minutes.

Just three minutes later Winter darted in to score his third. Despite being flagged for offside his hat-trick was allowed to stand.

And in the 62nd minute, with Selkirk’s defence being pulled out of shape again, Wallace ran onto Strachan’s through pass to score.

Fergus threw on his substitutes in a bid to reverse the flow and for a while Selkirk began to exert some pressure of their own.

But apart from an Andrew Fleming header which went just wide they couldn’t carve out any clear chances.

And in injury time Strachan capped an eye-catching individual display to complete a swift counter move and make it five.

Selkirk. G Amos, R Sclater, R Donaldson, A Fleming, L Turkington (R King 76), S McKirdy, M Christie, G Hunter, D Healy, C Chalmers (D Baxter 55) & C Helm (P Addison 72).