BOB MALCOLM LEAGUE CUP: Sunday 8 May, 2016, Bathgate Sports Centre

Bathgate secured a place in the League Cup final with a convincing win over Forth Athletic. Thistle cannot be caught at the top of their League Cup section and can now prepare for a showpiece occasion to end their season.

Although the result was pleasing, it was the quality of Bathgate’s football which really shone. They moved the ball around crisply on the 3G surface, with some terrific ball retention and attacking panache. Again, the goals scored were of the highest quality.

SDThe home team had to overcome an early setback after falling behind, though. From 1-0 down, they equalised via Kieran’s drilled finish from a corner. Leon was clearly in rampaging mood and Forth had no answer to his runs down the left flank. From Billy’s pass, he supplied the low cross for Dylan to put Bathgate 2-1 up.

Leon then struck the crossbar with a swerving effort from more than 20 yards out. Eventually, his probing paid off. He scampered in behind the Forth defence to drill Billy’s low cross beyond the goalkeeper and hand Thistle a 3-1 half-time lead.

The second period started slowly before Bailey put the game out of Forth’s reach. He fastened on to Sean’s prodded through ball and lifted it beyond the advancing goalkeeper. At 4-1, Bathgate conceded again but recovered strongly to score another two goals.

Billy showed his shooting power with a 25-yard looping shot into the net, and the winger completed the scoring with a right-footed effort near the end. On a pleasing afternoon, James’ passing and reading of the game in midfield stood out, as did the faultless Ross at right-back, while Elliot was a constant menace to Forth on the wing.

Overall, it was an impressive team display befitting of a cup final place.