William Hill Scottish Cup Fifth Round

DEFENDER Aaron Muirhead suffered double agony as Ayr United’s Cup dreams were left in tatters at a windswept and rain-lashed Somerset Park.

His own goal brought Saints back into the match and he was then red-carded for a needless challenge as hopes of a quarter-final were blown away in atrocious conditions.

They made a positively dream start with an early goal the dismissal knocked them totally off their stride.

But you were left to wonder how it might have been had they kept 11 men on the park.

United blasted into the lead with the first action of the match in four minutes when Aaron Drinan latched on to a fine through pass before drilling the ball home from 10 yards.

Early on Ayr looked like the Premiership team as they strung together a great series of passes.

Home skipper Steven Bell made a great clearance to deny the impressive Stevie May In 14 minutes as Saints tried to get back into it.

Ayr had another opening in 17 minutes when a Danny Harvie header into the box.

However a minute later Saints levelled when a Callum Hendry effort was knocked beyond home goalie Ross Doohan by Muirhead.

Saints forged another opening in 23 minutes when a cross into the box from Anthony Ralston was hooked clear by Muirhead.

However United were reduced to 10 men when Muirhead was given a straight red card.

Less than a minute later, Saints were in front for the first time when Hendry knocked the ball home from close range following a cross from Drey Wright.

May had the ball in the net for Saints in 34 minutes but the flag had already been up for offside.

Drinan sent the ball across the face of goal with no takers in 38 minutes.

A cross into the box from May was easily saved by Ross Doohan three minutes later.

Stephen Kelly shot wildly wide from 20 yards for United in 41 minutes.
Saints were awarded a free-kick a minute after the break following a foul on the edge of the box by player-boss Mark Kerr on Liam Craig.

However the resultant set-piece from Hendry was brilliantly tipped round the post by Doohan.

Hendry shot well over the top from 20 yards in 52 minutes.

Kerr was replaced by new signing Scott Tiffoney In 54 minutes as he joined assistant boss Michael McArdle on the touchline
Jordan Houston badly misjudged a pass-back In 63 minutes with Doohan luckily scrambling the ball clear.

Craig shot well over the bar from 25 yards four minutes later as Saints kept the pressure up.

Alan Forrest came off to be replaced by Michael Moffat in 68 minutes.

May whipped s cross into the box which was cleared by the Ayr defence in 74 minutes.

David Wotherspoon made a darting run in 77 minutes before having his 10-yard shot tipped away by Doohan.

Drinan shot wide from 12 yards after defensive indecision in 82 minutes as Ayr tried desperately to get back into the match.
Substitute Isaiah Jones went down inside the box in 86 minutes but play was waved on.
AYR UNITED: Doohan; Houston, Muirhead, Bell, Harvie, Gillespie, Kerr (Tiffoney 54) McCowan (Roscoe 28) Drinan, Forrest (Moffat 68). Subs not used: Maley, Hare-Reid, McKenzie, Smith.
Referee: Steven McLean
Attn: 2625