Murray on 'puzzling' offside call, getting over a shaky start and matchwinner Gullan's finishing prowess

Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray hailed his team their “incredible” response to adversity on Tuesday night as they beat Linlithgow Rose 2-0 in the Scottish Cup fourth round.
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The Kirkcaldy club travelled to Prestonfield knowing that the East of Scotland Football League Premier Division leaders would be full of confidence after watching fellow tie six outfit Darvel dump top-flight Aberdeen out of the cup the previous night.

However, after an admittedly shaky opening, the likes of Dylan Easton and Aidan Connolly strolled the tie with two second-half strikes from Jamie Gullan sealing a match against Motherwell next month.

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The ex-Hibs striker also had what looked to be a perfectly legal goal chopped off after much confusion between the match officials.

LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan chips the goal keeper but is ruled offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan chips the goal keeper but is ruled offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan chips the goal keeper but is ruled offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

“It was a very hard game,” manager Murray said of the performance. “We knew it would be difficult coming to a team that had lost once all season long.

"They made life difficult for us and you have to give credit to Linlithgow.

“Overall, we deserved to win the game and we controlled it despite a shaky opening.

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“It was very much job done against a team that have scored 66 goals.

LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan scores to make it 1-0 during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan scores to make it 1-0 during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Raith's Jamie Gullan scores to make it 1-0 during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

“We’ve seen it a million times in the Scottish Cup – you come to a tight ground, with a good atmosphere against a team with nothing to lose.

"We had to stand up to it – and we did. Apart from the first five, six, seven minutes we dominated the game.

“We lacked quality in the first half but in the second half we were excellent.”

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On matchwinner Gullan, he added: “Both goals were really good finishes. For the first one, he is the player you would want in that situation.

LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Linlithgow's Sandy Cunningham is fouled by Raith's Tom Lang during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Linlithgow's Sandy Cunningham is fouled by Raith's Tom Lang during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Linlithgow's Sandy Cunningham is fouled by Raith's Tom Lang during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)

"He hits the ball with such an impact.

"He always hits the target. The second one was brilliant. I am delighted for him.

"It has been a stop-start season for him but he is scoring now.”

The talking point of the match came moments into the second half when the forward thought he had put his side in the lead, only for it to be eventually not given.

LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Referee Graham Grainger awards the free kick for offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Referee Graham Grainger awards the free kick for offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
LINLITHGOW, SCOTAND - JANUARY 24: Referee Graham Grainger awards the free kick for offside during a Scottish Cup fourth round match between Linlithgow Rose and Raith Rovers at Prestonfield, on January 24, 2023, in Linlithgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
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Gullan was in an offside position, but clearly not affecting the play, when Rose defender Alex Webb’s headed clearance fell to the feet of the hitman, who chipped goalkeeper Cammy Binnie.

A perplexed Murray said: “ I don’t want to be too critical of referees and linesman, especially when they don’t have the luxury of VAR.

“It’s puzzling, we’re all puzzled – I think the referee and linesmen were puzzled.

"He gave it, then didn’t give, then gave it again, then chopped it off.

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“It was chopped off due to the fact the player stretched to head the ball. I’ve stretched pretty much every time I’ve headed the ball.

“It’s just a grey area, it’s really difficult. I think maybe two or three years ago Jamie would have been offside, but he was nowhere near affecting the game.

“It was a basic defensive error. Thankfully it didn’t cost us.

"The positive thing was that my team responded to it in incredible fashion.

"We could have sat down and thought it was going to be one of those nights.”