BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Forfar Athletic stalwart Derek Young concedes the Loons are suffering from a crisis of confidence following their dismal Scottish Cup collapse against 10-man Linlithgow Rose.
After an even first period at a raucous Prestonfield, which saw Michael Travis and Ruiri MacLennan exchange goals, Gary Bollan’s men enjoyed a dream start to the second period.
Rose’s Gary Thom bundled Scott Martin over in the box and was dismissed by Stephen Finnie before Iain Campbell dispatched the kick. Three minutes later Gavin Swankie made it 3-1.
Given their numerical advantage and the gulf between the sides in the Scottish football structure, what followed fro the visitors was miserable, as goals from Jamie McKenzie and Graham Weir secured a replay.
Rose keeper Ally Adams pulled off a marvellous point-blank save to deny Travis in the dying embers as Forfar attempted to regain the lead but, given the circumstances, there was no real late bombardment.
With their dismal form now reading one win in 16 matches, Young believes their afternoon in Lothian summed up the fragility within the dressing room at Station Park.
“We should have won, we were in a winning position,” rued the 35-year-old. “I think a lot of what happened is down to how we have been playing lately. I don’t think there’s a lot of confidence in the dressing room, but hopefully the new manager can change that.
“I had to laugh when the keeper [Adams] pulls off that incredible save at the end. It is just the way things go when you are on a run like this.
“We need to start performing on the park. We have done it in flashes, but we need to see games out. We just need to work hard to get out of this rut. We are not the first team to go on a run like that and we won’t be the last.
“At the start of the season, we looked like one of the best sides in the league, albeit that seems like a long time ago. We do have quality, there’s a lot in the locker. It’s frustrating that we don’t seem to be putting it together.
“But the only ones that will get us out of this sticky situation are ourselves.”
It could have been much worse for the League One outfit. Linlithgow Rose struck the post, bar and had a header cleared off the line.
While Forfar will feel like they should have seen out the victory after racing into a 3-1 lead, they could have easily been out of the Scottish Cup this morning if the Rosey Posey had been more clinical, especially in the first 45 minutes.
Young admitted as much, before acknowledging that was “embarrassing” solace to take from a match against a Junior side who played most of the second half with 10 men.
The sides meet again at Station Park next Tuesday and, with the fifth round draw set to take place at Hampden this evening, Bollan’s men will know exactly what they are playing for.
“We need to give massive respect to Linlithgow, too,” emphasised Young. “Their manager [David McGlynn] has put a really good side together and we’ll go again in the replay.
“It could have been a different outcome and the positive thing is that we are still in the hat this morning, although it is a bit embarrassing to say that after the position we were in.”