Raith Rovers into fourth round of Scottish Cup thanks to Aidan Connolly hat-trick

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Raith Rovers booked their place in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup thanks to a second half hat-trick from Aidan Connolly - the player who just can’t stop scoring.

The club’s forward continued his sparkling run of form to lay any fears of a cup upset to rest with a glorious strike.

Two more eventually sunk a defensively solid Talbot, and sent the fans home happy, and Rovers into the fourth round of the competition.

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The Stark’s Park dominated possession throughout, but couldn’t find a way past Auchinleck in a first half which produced very few chances.

Aidan Connolly goes for goal against Auchinleck Talbot (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)Aidan Connolly goes for goal against Auchinleck Talbot (Pic:  Fife Photo Agency)
Aidan Connolly goes for goal against Auchinleck Talbot (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

It took until the 62nd minute to break the deadlock, and it was worth waiting as Connolly latched on to a cut back from Scott Brown and floated a superb shot across the face of the goal into the top corner of Andrew Leishman’s net.

There was a let off for Talbot just minutes later when full back Ross Taylor saw a header come back off his own crossbar, but the Ayrshire side’s hopes of a late rally effectively died in the 75th minute when Connolly struck again. One again he cut in from the right, and this time picked his spot at the near post to make it 2-0.

Connolly capped a fine afternoon with a third as he turned home from close range after Rovers pounced on a weak pass back from Taylor which left his goalie stranded.

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Raith boss Ian Murray was delighted to get past their lower league opponents.

He said: “We were worried about the ‘what ifs’ - what if they scored from a set piece or corner?

“It was important to keep concentrating. We had so much of the ball, and the goal came at the right time. Five minutes later and we would have had to make a change in personnel and formation.

“It was a great finish from Aidan. He makes a fool of me every week when I tell the team we can’t keep relying on him to hit the top corner - and then he goes and does it!

“He is on a fantastic run right now.”

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