Scottish Cup
Sat 2 September 2023
Score: 2 - 3

Match Report

The people of Carluke turned out in great numbers to witness The Rovers first venture into the senior Scottish Cup. The weather was perfect for a game of football and no one was to leave disappointed after an afternoon of twists and turns. The opponents were Dalbeattie Star. A famous name in Scottish border football who came to the John Cumming Stadium confident of a result.

The game kicked off with both teams cagey at the start, neither knowing what to expect from a team they haven’t played before. It was however Dalbeattie who had the first near miss. A ball was played in from the left and Dalbeattie knocked it off the post in the 6th minute. This near miss spurred Carluke into action and they were growing into the match. Then in the 16th minute Carluke took the lead. The ball was controlled by Dom Small on the left and he cut the ball inside to Ciaran McGurn. He controlled the ball with his first touch and with his second unleashed an unstoppable 25 yarder into the top corner giving the Dalbeattie keeper no chance. 1-0 to Carluke. Within a further 3 minutes Carluke were on easy street when they doubled their lead. Good work by Greg Miller down the right saw the striker whip in a low cross. Dom Small, running in, managed to just get inside his marker and slid the ball goalward. The keeper seemed to have saved it but then fumbled the ball into the back of the net. 2-0 to Carluke.

With a 2 goal lead Carluke were comfortable but neither side were in the ascendancy in an evenly matched encounter. Then in 33rd minute Dalbeattie got a goal back when Ross Hunter’s cutback was met by Dale Milligan who shot from 10 yards was beyond the reach of Josh McGill in the Carluke goal. 2-1 Carluke.

The game changed dramatically for Carluke when in the 38th minute their centre half Reiss Stewart was sent off with a straight red for high studs into the knee of Ross Hunter. Many seen this s a harsh sending off in such a big game when it also appeared that both players were going for the ball. Regardless it changed the flow of the game as Carluke were now forced to adopt a more defensive posture and protect the lead they had.

Carluke were forced into a change due to the sending off but saw out the first half holding the lead at 2-1.

The second half got underway with Dalbeattie on the front foot. In the 49th minute their striker was through but on a tight angle and his shot was well saved by McGill in the Carluke goal. It was Dealbeattie on top in the early stages of the second half and it was no real surprise when they got the equaliser on the hour mark. Again it was Milligan who turned the Rovers defender and calmly placed his shot out of the reach of McGill into the top right hand corner. 2-2.

The game settled down a bit after that with Dalbeattie having most of the ball against 10 man Carluke but not really threatening. The game finished 2-2 and so it was extra time. We were only 2 minutes into that when Josh Bell was pulled down inside the box near the byeline. The referee hesitated but on the instruction from his linesperson he pointed to the spot. Unfortunately for Carluke the Dalbeattie keeper guessed the right way and saved it. It was now end to end with both teams mustering what little energy they had left to produce a winner and it was to be Dalbeattie who were to get it with a goal fit to win any game. With 6 minutes left in extra time Ross Hunter picked up the ball midway in the Carluke half and unleashed an effort from 30 yards that went right into the top corner. This was to be the winning goal and Dalbeattie Star were to run out 3-2 winners.

The 10 men of Rovers had given everything in this game and were distraught at the final whistle but they can be proud of the battling performance they produced against a good side from the South of Scotland league. It was particularly pleasing that such a large number of the locals turned out to support the team.

On that note special thanks goes to Milton Rovers Football Club who supplied the ballboys and ballgirls which added to the occasion. Plus all our sponsors particularly Clarks The Bakers who provided all the pies, sausage rolls and cakes which were thoroughly enjoyed by the hundreds who attended.

Match Report by Steven Kane


Photography by Kevin Ramage