Lochee United boss George Shields reckons their late winner at Auchinleck Talbot on Saturday may have awoken a beast and is under no illusion of the task that lies ahead for them in this week’s second leg at Thomson Park.
Lochee keeper Mark Fotheringham was the hero of the day, tipping over Gordon Pope’s rasper and then denying Stephen Wilson from the spot, before Connor Birse’s late show gave the visitors a slim 1-0 advantage.
Shields said: “Any result is a positive for us.
“Even leaving with a goalless draw we would’ve been happy with but to snatch it at the end is fantastic and great credit to the boys.
“We’re not taking anything for granted.
“Auchinleck will come to Thomson Park this week and a one-goal lead is not a lot.
“We’re not favourites and I say it all the time that the big teams are favourites.
“They’ve got a history, winning the Scottish Cup 11 times, and we don’t as we’ve never won.
“We’re the new boys in town but we’ve got a great chance of getting ourselves to the final.”
Talbot were unlucky not to go ahead early doors as Graham Wilson found Jamie Glasgow in space but the wide man could only ripple the side-netting with half of Beechwood Park on their feet to no avail.
Last year’s beaten finalists tried to turn the screw with Mark Shankland whipping in a cross that Paul Lunan headed out for a corner.
Dwayne Hyslop nodded the resulting flag-kick over from close range.
Then it was Lochee’s turn to test Andy Leishman.
Scott Webster switched flanks to Scot McComiskie and he cut back for Dougie Cameron, whose effort deflected around the Talbot box like a pinball and just evaded the keeper’s grasp to end out for a corner.
Right on half-time, Pope set his sights and rifled goalwards from 30 yards with only the strong hand of Fotheringham denying him an opener by tipping over.
Lochee felt hard done by on 49 minutes when whistler David Dickinson pointed to the spot after catching Stephen McNally and Ross Harvie jostling when waiting for a corner.
McNally picked up a booking for trying to plead his innocence while Wilson steadied himself for the spot-kick.
However, Fotheringham never read the script and guessed correctly to keep Lochee on level terms.
Shortly after, McComiskie felt he should have been awarded a penalty after tangling with Willie Lyle but ref Dickinson told them to smarten up and get on with it.
With the match entering the final act, Glasgow made a run into the box and pulled the trigger, but, despite Fotheringham being down and out, the ball took a wicked deflection and fell into his grasp right on the line.
The drama extended into injury time as Logan Davie played in Birse.
The Lochee attacker took advantage of Talbot’s hesitancy to burst forward and slot past the already downed Leishman to take the lead back up to Thomson Park.
Talbot gaffer Tommy Sloan said: “We got mugged a wee bit there at the end.
“I don’t think the first half was up to much but we improved in the second half but they defended well and they caught us at the end.
“However, they’ve had one chance and scored, so fair play to them.”