On Saturday, Largs face a trip to St Roch's in the first round of the Soccer Shop South of Scotland Cup, sparking memories of a classic cup tie between the teams two seasons ago.

St Roch's 2 Largs Thistle 5

Never-Say-Die Largs produced a stirring comeback from the depths of despair to seal a quarter-final with Kilwinning Rangers in the Macron Scottish Cup after an extraordinary encounter in Glasgow.

Backed by a big noisy fanbase of over 500 supporters, the Candy Rock were two goals up and looking in pole position for the coveted last eight spot. In comparison, Largs appeared to be heading for an embarrassing and unexpected fifth round replay exit against 10 men.

But in an incredible turnaround in the final 15 minutes or so, super sub Ryan McKie notched a quick-fire double to breathe new life into Thistle. Largs re-found their mojo in the nick of time and rounded off this barnstormer of an encounter with three more goals to leave the home side utterly shellshocked.

There was little sign of the drama to follow as the first half was a tousy affair with few openings for either side. Thistle’s best early passing move saw Ben Black and John Carter link up as Mark Millar clipped in an effort from around 12 yards but he didn’t get enough purchase on it and keeper James McGuire dived to make a comfortable catch.

Midfielder Gary Fleming let rip with a long range effort which flew narrowly over the St Roch’s bar. It was becoming a midfield battle which suited St Roch’s, and they managed to win a free-kick far out on the left wing on 29 minutes — surely they couldn’t score from there. Eddie Ferns stepped up and whipped in a low angled drive which flew into the net to send the big St Roch’s support into raptures.

Questions must be asked as to how such a goal could be conceded as it seemed an impossible angle to score from. Largs nearly found an unlikely route back into this encounter courtesy of a near own goal as Black’s cross was headed goalwards by a defender but McGuire pulled off a remarkable full stretch save.

A red card followed for St Roch’s as Black was sent tumbling to the deck by a crude challenge, with Dean Kindlan headed for an early bath on 35 minutes.

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Would that change the flow of this encounter? Seemingly not as the home side held on without too many problems until half-time. At the start of the second half, Largs were making in-roads with Carter launching an effort over the bar, and then St Roch’s Ryan McManus appealed for a penalty but was booked for diving.

Martin Orr floated in a dangerous chipped effort from the right which went wide, and then Millar and Black combined well on the edge of the area with a one-two but the former’s diagonal effort which was pushed on to the post by the keeper. Ferns doubled St Roch’s lead on 67 minutes as he broke clear and sent a composed effort past Jamie McGowan in the Largs goal as the home support roared in approval.

Thistle’s Scottish Cup dream was turning into a nightmare and the mood was not brightened moments later as Stuart Faulds’ good run and cross from the right teed up Gary Fleming who was clean through on goal. Jamie McGuire, who had been the hero for St Roch’s in the first game, blocked Fleming’s effort on the line when the Largs midfielder seemed certain to score.

Thistle  had been misfiring in front of goal all afternoon, but a last throw of the dice with McKie coming off the bench changed matters, and resulted in the start of the fairytale comeback. On 71 minutes, McKie raced down the left wing, and cut inside before sending a spectacular effort into the top right-hand corner to half the deficit.

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Could Largs take this to penalties? They did much more than that. McKie let rip again on 76 minutes from the edge of the area through a crowded  goalmouth as McGuire and a defender desperately tried to prevent the ball from going over the line, but cross the line it did, and suddenly it was 2-2.

St Roch’s nearly killed off the Largs comeback as sub Stephen McDonald raced clear on goal in another breakaway, but McGowan came to Thistle’s rescue to brilliantly  block.

Carter then showed a clean pair of heels to defenders after he burst through on the right after being set up by Millar. He sent a fast paced effort across the face of goal for 
Black to finish off at the far post to make it 3-2 on 79 minutes, and Thistle fans were celebrating as if they had actually won the Scottish Cup. St Roch’s suddenly looked dead on their feet, and Faulds went on a wriggling run overcoming several challenges before setting up Millar who despatched number four on 85 minutes.

Largs rounded off the scoring in the 92nd minute as McKie challenged the keeper and the ball broke to midfielder Graham Muir who had the simple job of hitting 
the ball into an empty net to round off his 200th appearance with aplomb.

Thistle fans who travelled to the city in good numbers were certainly put through the wringer in this encounter, but the finale was something else and one of the most memorable Scottish Cup comebacks the club have ever produced. Even down to 10 men St Roch’s gave everything but were really up against it in the final 15 minutes as Largs went into overdrive in a truly remarkable finale which will live long in the memory.

It took Largs  over 160 minutes to finally master St Roch’s but showing such great spirit and desire in the most testing of circumstances can only serve Thistle well in the future in what has been an incredible season so far. And the good news is there is much more to come!

Largs: McGowan, Orr, McMaster, Little, Begley, Faulds, Carter, Fleming, Adam, Millar, Black. Subs: McKie, Muir, Farrell (GK), McVey.

Photos - Ryan Scott Photography