The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe 'over the moon' with thrilling Irn-Bru Cup success

Reporter:

Barrie White

The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe admitted he was just happy to progress into the Irn-Bru Cup third round after a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Livingston.

Aeron Edwards put the Saints ahead but TNS were pegged back by Dylan Mackin, before ultimately Scott Pittman’s missed penalty sealed the win.

But Ruscoe felt his side were not lucky to win and was delighted to see his side continue to dominate after Livingston pulled one back.

“It doesn’t matter how we go through, it’s that we go through,” he said.

“If someone had asked me would I be happy going through this round, I’d be over the moon.

“It was a good, entertaining game, end-to-end and we stood up to the test. It was good for the neutral – they played a bit more football than we were expecting.

“They put a box in place to stop us playing too so they’d done their homework on us. They played to stifle us.

“I think the first 45 minutes was very good. The whole 90 at Bala is probably the best we’ve been this season but we had some really good play in the first half.

“We were defensively well organised though we started slowly in the second half. You’re never going to get 90 minutes all your own way so we rode that out.

“We showed excellent character and in extra time, we were as fit as them. It was always going to be one of those slight things, such as when they hit the bar.

“We had one with Blaine Hudson who should have scored and Greg Draper hit the bar – they’ve had chances and we’ve had chances.

“We started to come again after they scored which was good as you’ve seen teams go into their shell. We’re a fit side and we know we can go again.”

Ruscoe was delighted with his side’s efforts, and singled out forwards Wes Fletcher and Jamie Mullen for their performances.

And he admitted that while he doesn’t expect them to be happy, the attitude of his currently non-starting big names is laudable and a sign of the talent TNS possess.

He added: “Wes was excellent and we want to push the lads without them getting injured.

“Jamie was brilliant too – he’s been consistently good for us too, both going forward and defensively.

“He has a great relationship with Simon Spender. It’s good to see the attitude of players who aren’t playing.

“We were able to use four subs today but Alex Darlington was left out of the squad altogether. That shows the strength in depth we have.”

The Saints will find out their opposition today with the draw being made in Scotland.

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

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