Highland League Cove Rangers’ record Scottish Cup run ended with a 3-1 defeat to Paul Hartley’s Championship Falkirk in Inverurie.
You could have forgiven Cove a nervy start to what boss John Sheran called the “biggest game in their history” and, when they shot from kick-off, it looked like they were looking for a bit of luck to send them on their way.
It didn’t quite come off and, on two minutes, left-back Alan Redford showed too much of the ball to Falkirk’s Lewis Kidd in an area where he shouldn’t have been playing.
Kidd robbed him and his curling cross from the right landed perfectly for Alex Jakubiak to roll the ball past Stuart McKenzie.
It was the worst possible start, in theory. But the men in blue were unperturbed.
Two minutes later, Cove’s Ryan Stott went marauding down the left flank. His high cross looked like it had gone too far for Mitch Megginson to do anything with.
However, Megginson shifted it on to his right and, from a really tight angle, fired a shot into the far bottom corner.
After the equaliser, Cove were in complete control and you’d never have known Falkirk play three tiers above them.
The first half ended with Cove’s Jamie Masson almost scoring with a free-kick from 45 yards, with everyone at Harlaw Park expecting the cross. Connor Hazard just managed to tip it away from his top left corner.
Unfortunately the second half started how the first had for Cove.
Virtually straight from kick-off, Craig Sibbald volleyed the Bairns in front after Reghan Tumilty’s cross from the right.
Jakubiak grabbed his second two minutes later. He found himself in acres of space to slot past McKenzie after being slid in by Rory Loy.
The Falkirk forward was booked for lifting his shirt in celebration.
The Aberdeen team regained their composure and strikes from Ryan Strachan and Masson came close to reigniting the game as a contest.
Centre-back and skipper Eric Watson was even pushed up-front for a spell, but it wasn’t enough to bring a second Cove goal – although Megginson headed just wide with a few minutes left – and nervy finish for the Bairns.
In the last minute of regular time, Loy was booked after he was adjudged to have dived in the Cove box after a Falkirk break.
After four minutes of additional time, the Highland League side’s cup fate was sealed.