By John Turnbull
Three strikes from two substitutes put the University of Stirling into the second round of the Scottish Cup after a 3-0 win over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale on Sunday.
It’s the fifth time in six attempts that Chris Geddes has led his side past the opening round, but the Uni boss needed Jason Jarvis and Cameron McKinley to add the finishing touches.
Jarvis netted the first on 73 minutes before McKinley headed in a second with his first touch of the ball. In added time, Jarvis grabbed a second to cap a memorable afternoon for the students.
Head coach Chris Geddes said: “It was a tough game. We deserved to win, but we made hard work of it. Two substitutes scored all three goals, and obviously, the players who played did great, but it was all about just getting into the next round, and thankfully, we did that again.
“Some of the players have never played in the Scottish Cup or even scored, so I’m just really happy for them today.
“We played a back three, and they did really well. We defended well, were nice and solid, and we did the right things which were good to see.”
Geddes named an unchanged side for the home tie with a Thistle side who have endured a difficult start to the season in the East of Scotland Premier Division.
But the Edinburgh club would’ve been happier heading into half-time as the game went into the break goalless.
Ben Heal and Euan McGill couldn’t take advantage of great opportunities in the first half, as the Uni lacked their recent clinical edge in front of goal.
It returned as the changes took their place on the pitch late in the second half. Jarvis was at the heart of the hosts’ attacks and soon left his mark, despite his omission from the start.
The midfielder said: “When you win against Caledonian Braves in the Lowland League, you can’t expect a team to change, so I’ve just got to do my thing when I come on the pitch and luckily enough, I made an impact.
Having created the chances, it was only a matter of time before one found the back of the net. Jarvis cut onto his left foot and fired the Uni ahead as his strike nestled in off the near post.
Stirling kicked on and looked to McKinley to seal the game as the striker replaced Ben Maciver-Redwood with two minutes left.
Within seconds of coming on, McKinley leapt the highest to head home a second and join Jarvis in celebrating a first Scottish Cup goal.
McKinley added: “I feel like there’s always going to be a chance, and when you get them, you’ve got to take them. I’ve been fortunate to score with my first touch, but as long as it helps the boys get that win, then I’m a happy man.”
And it would be a comfortable win, as Jarvis picked out the far corner from inside the penalty box to wrap up a dominant second-half display.
The Uni will visit Dunbar United in the second round of the Scottish Cup, with the tie to be played at New Countess Park on Saturday, October 22nd.
University of Stirling: Fry, Burrows, Service, Lavery, Berry, Russell (Jarvis 58’), Stokes, Rae (Mirzasalimov 81’), McGill (McAninch 81’), Maciver-Redwood (McKinley 88’)