Ross McNeil hat-trick eases Caledonian Braves into last eight

A treble by Ross McNeil (pictured) saw Caledonian Braves home 3-0 against Bonnyton Thistle (Library pic)
A treble by Ross McNeil (pictured) saw Caledonian Braves home 3-0 against Bonnyton Thistle (Library pic)

Caledonian Braves strolled into the quarter-finals of the South Region Challenge Cup by beating Bonnyton Thistle 3-0 at Alliance Park on Saturday, writes Roy Campbell.

Braves started on the front foot as a much changed side tested the keeper early on.

New signing Serge Makofo almost scored the opener on the debut but his shot was denied by the woodwork.

Setpiece specialist David Sinclair was next to have a go as his long-range free kick almost looped over the Bonnyton keeper.

The Braves are beginning to create a habit of having goals chopped off as debutant Makofo tapped home from close range only for the far side assistant to raise his flag.

Youngsters John Guthrie and Craig Quinn had outstanding games down the right hand side where the Braves enjoyed the majority of their opportunities, especially in the second half.

Two minutes into the second half and top goalscorer Ross McNeil headed home a great cross from Quinn.

McNeil was unmarked and nodded home from the six-yard line to give the home side a much deserved lead.

Shortly after this McNeil was at it again.

This time a lovely cross in from Makofo on the left hand side was met by the oncoming McNeil who glanced his header across the face of goal and into the bottom corner.

Braves midfielders Reece Glackin and David Sinclair then came close to scoring on a few occasions.

It was McNeil who would grab his and Caley Braves’ third goal though.

A neat through ball in from Neil McLaughlin found McNeil in acres of space and the striker had time to place the ball into the bottom corner of the net to complete his hat-trick.

Bonnyton came close a few times late on but Alex Marshall held a solid clean sheet on his return to the starting 11.

Braves are back in Lowland League action this Saturday, November 16 at home to Gala Fairydean Rovers, kick-off 3pm.

Motherwell and Hamilton Accies fans who show their season tickets will get free entry