THE magic of the Scottish Cup.

It’s undeniable. It’s inescapable.

Sauchie Juniors made their debut in the competition last year and made it to the third round, eventually succumbing to League One side Dumbarton.

This year their journey began with a 4-1 victory away to Gala Fairydean Rovers and set up Saturday’s clash with Bonnyrigg Rose.

The community was up for it, and the signs were there long before 3pm. The car park was full more than 60 minutes before kick-off. The young fans, including players from the club’s academy, were already in place, banging their drum and making as much noise as possible.

Fraser Duncan named a strong side. Chic Bell started in goals with Scott Davidson and Darren Carroll in front of him. The fullbacks were Ally Peacock and Ross Balmer.

Sauchie’s midfield consisted of Ross Hutchison, Sam Collumbine, Brian Morgan and Danny Smith. Conor Kelly and Ross Kavanagh led the line.

After a slight delay to kick-off caused by the smoke of a Sauchie flare, the match got underway and the visitors almost took the lead.

Scott Gray managed to get a toe on a low cross and his effort hit the bar and went over.

However, from that moment on Sauchie controlled the game. Despite a lot of possession, they struggled to make their dominance count. Kavanagh was causing the Bonnyrigg defence all kinds of problems with his strength and close control. Kelly, who continuously floated out towards the right wing, battled hard to be the other outball for the hosts.

Then, 20 minutes into the match, Beechwood erupted. Balmer managed to win the ball on the right wing and delivered a looping cross which Davidson met to head the ball back across goal into the back of the net. Mark Weir, respectfully, had no chance.

Much was made about the introduction of VAR in Scotland at the weekend and it’s a pity it wasn’t available at Beechwood. A Sauchie corner was caught by Weir but he somehow dropped it and Kavanagh instinctively turned and scored. However, the goal was disallowed.

Sauchie would go close again with Collumbine’s header smashing against the post.

Thankfully for him he wouldn’t have to wait long for another opportunity and this time he took his opportunity.

Kelly’s excellent corner found Collumbine and his header looped over Bonnyrigg’s man on the post and into the back of the net.

Bonnyrigg, who were struggling to cope with Sauchie’s energy and workrate, got a break and halved the deficit. Keiran McGachie got lucky twice and was able to poke the ball past an outrushing Bell to give Bonnyrigg a glimmer of hope.

That glimmer lasted around two minutes.

Smith’s clever through ball found Kavanagh’s run and he managed to square the ball to Hutchison who wanted it more and he stretched a leg to get a touch on the ball and prod it past Weir.

A breathless first half came to an end with Sauchie leading 3-1 but in truth it should have been more.

In truth the second half was always going to struggle to live up to the first but there were chances for both teams. Carroll tested Weir with a good header and Davidson was called into action on multiple occasions to deal with Bonnyrigg’s attempts to get back into the game.

Every Sauchie player gave everything they had and Bonnyrigg just couldn’t find a way through. Duncan’s side were more than up for it and it became harder and harder to see past Sauchie making it through to the third round.

But, nothing in football is ever simple. Balmer, who was exceptional all game, had a momentary lapse of concentration and Bonnyrigg substitute Zach Khan nipped in to steal the ball before lifting it over Bell.

With the dying minutes seeming to last forever, Sauchie held on. Job done. Third round here they come.

Duncan would describe this as a giant killing in his post-match interview and he wasn’t wrong. Bonnyrigg are a League Two side. When the draw was made Duncan said there was no pressure on his side and he wasn’t playing mind games. He was telling the truth.

Bonnyrigg were probably the favourites on Saturday but that doesn’t matter. Not when the magic of the Scottish Cup is in the air.

SAUCHIE: Bell, Balmer, Carroll, Davidson, Peacock, Hutchison, Collumbine, Morgan, Smith (McCaughie), Kavanagh, Kelly (Connor).