By John Turnbull at East Peffermill
University of Stirling defender Jake Service scored a first career hat-trick on Wednesday night as Stirling swept Edinburgh University aside 4-0.
Having been postponed on Hogmanay, the game was rescheduled, but conditions were still unfavourable at East Peffermill.
Stirling’s Buronbek Mirzasalimov wasted no time in firing Stirling ahead right after kick-off though, before Service netted a derby treble.
Assistant Sean Roycroft said: “It was a really good win; Uni derbies are big games for both teams, so it was good to get that win under our belt.
“It was a horrible night for defenders, balls flying all over the place – it was so windy out there. It just adds a few mistakes, but we handled it very well.
“It’s great for Jake – a centre-back getting a hat-trick. There’s a mixture of goals, and Mirzasalimov got one as well. That early goal settled us down a bit, and he took his chance tonight.
“We’ve got a really good squad here, with quality all over, but the boys who came in tonight have got plenty of minutes and shown they can produce when asked upon.
“The whole of January into February has tonnes of games, which might get to three a week at some point.
“We have done so well in the first part of the season, so we are still in all competitions, which is great for us, great for the team, but it means we have plenty of games, so we will have to use the full squad.”
Conditions seemed destined to play their part in the reverse fixture of the Uni derby, but the strong wind and rain caused Stirling no problems.
Mirzasalimov was one of five changes Geddes made to his starting 11, and the forward repaid the faith as he netted from Cammy McKinley’s low cross just two minutes in.
It would soon become a night to remember for 20-year-old Service as the centre-back headed in the first of his three goals, on route to claiming a clean sheet as well.
On 15 minutes, Service leapt highest in the Edinburgh box to head home before nodding in again on the half-hour mark.
Stirling remained direct in their approach for a third, and Matty Burrows’ long throw was met by Service, as he expertly glanced his header into the far corner.
He said: “I told James I’d be on the penalties (for the hat-trick), but he wasn’t having it, so luckily, I got the third from the corner, so it was good to seal the hat-trick.”
Stirling completed the rout three minutes into the second half, and it was Service who got his wish in completing a well-deserved hat-trick.
James Russell’s corner found its way to Service who struck cleanly on the half-volley to wrap up a dream night for the central defender.
He added: “that takes me to six goals, I think last season for the Under 20’s I got into double figures, so it would be good to get there again.
“It was a good performance from the boys, we dug in for a good win – it’s always good to beat them.”
University of Stirling: Fry, Gilmour, Burrows (Lavery 45), Service (Jarvis 80), Russell (Grooms 80), Berry, Heal, Munro, McAninch (Stokes 80), McKinley (Maciver-Redwood 60), Mirzasalimov
Edinburgh University: Gallacher, L. Murray, Hamilton, Mail, Ainslie, R. Murray, Maskrey, Dick, Anderson, Lawton, Maurice