Johnstone Burgh booked their spot in the third round of the Scottish Junior Cup at the weekend with a hard-fought and impressive 4-2 win over SJFA East South Division outfit Armadale Thistle at Keanie Park.

Looking to take their sparkling league form into the cup, Burgh struggled in the early stages, with the West Lothian visitors dominating possession.

Under the cosh for the best part of the first half, Burgh’s quality came to the fore 42 minutes in when Nathan Marriot opened the scoring against the run of play with a fine strike, before Jason Hardie quickly doubled the hosts’ advantage on the stroke of half-time to put them firmly in the driving seat.

With the second half just five minutes old, Burgh knew they were in a game as Thistle hit back to reduce the deficit.

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However, straight from the restart, William Lennox’s driving run and clever cutback handed Hardie his second and Burgh’s third on a plate, with the big striker tapping in from point-blank range to restore the two-goal lead.

The visitors once again pulled one back as they looked for a way back into it on the hour mark and they were handed a further boost when Lennox received his marching orders with 25 minutes remaining.

A man down, Burgh dug in and showed their mettle, with Marriot adding a fourth on the 80th minute as Jamie McKim’s men ensured their name was in the hat for the third round draw.

“I was delighted with that overall,” the gaffer told Gazette Sport. “I thought we were excellent in the second half after getting to grips with Armadale in the first.

“They’re a really good side, I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They caused us a lot of problems. They dominated the first half but we got two goals right at the end of the half before going on to dominate the second.

“They scored at the start of the second half but we go right up the other end from the restart and get our two-goal lead back. The ball was in the net 10 seconds after they got a goal back, so I was over the moon at how direct we were in dealing with that and the desire to maintain the two-goal lead.

“They bring it back to 3-2 and then we go down to 10 men. The way we fought after that was the most pleasing aspect of the day.”

McKim continued: “We were up against it for the last half hour but the boys were absolutely outstanding. We’re all looking forward to the next round now.

“All the boys are picking who they want but, to be honest, I’m just looking forward to the draw. I don’t mind who we get.”

After the highs of the cup, Burgh now turn their attention back to the league as they travel to leaders Vale of Leven in search of their eighth consecutive win.

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McKim added: “I think the Vale match is the biggest match of the season so far.

“We want to carry on that momentum and continue that form and winning mentality.

“At the same time, the league won’t be won or lost this weekend. Of course, we’d like to maintain our winning run but we know there are plenty of points up for grabs.”

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