Sean Connery backs Bonnyrigg Rose in Hibs cup tie

Sir Sean Connery
Sir Sean Connery
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HE’S the former Bonnyrigg Rose player who went on to become an international showbiz sensation.

And now Sir Sean Connery has given his backing to the Scottish Cup underdogs – from the Bahamas with love.

The 86-year-old James Bond legend still follows football back home and was delighted when his old side triumphed over Dumbarton last week.

Bonnyrigg Rose became the first team from the junior leagues to beat a senior Championship team when they won 1-0 against the Sons on Tuesday.

And now they’ll face off against Hibs next year in a hotly-anticipated fourth-round clash expected to net them up to £100,000 in ticket sales and TV income.

Speaking from his Bahamas home, Connery – who played for the East Region Super League side while growing up in Edinburgh – sent them a rare good luck message.

He told a Sunday newspaper: “I wish them all the best. I was told there had been articles and some coverage about it. I follow the football from all over – I get it in my study.

“Of course I wish them well. I wish them all the best – please tell them that. It will be interesting – football has certainly become a different game now from when I was involved.

“It’s difficult to link up here sometimes because of the phones and so on.

“But I get the soccer, tennis, rugby – all the sport that I like. It works better than the telephones here.”

A 1951 Dalkeith Advertiser report notes Connery scoring for Bonnyrigg with “a 30-yard shot in a 3-1 defeat by Broxburn Athletic”.

A talented player in his day, the future 007 once turned down the chance to play for Manchester United after being spotted by scouts.

United boss Matt Busby was impressed by the youngster’s skills and offered him a contract worth £25 a week.

But Connery recalled: “I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23.

“I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”

Reminiscing about his time playing for Bonnyrigg, he said: “Everything was important for me around that time.

“Everything was a kind of step forward. It was a case of getting a job at the King’s Theatre and doing extra work at Portobello pool as a lifeguard.

“My remembrances of the time were of a very busy life up until I started making the movies. It was a lot of work for me. I liked football very much then – and I still do. I adore it.”

Connery grew up in Fountainbridge and worked as a milkman before joining the Royal Navy.

He would later become one of the world’s most famous movie stars – playing ultra-smooth secret agent James Bond in no less than seven films.

Now retired, he keeps a low profile at his home near Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, and rarely gives interviews to journalists.

Bonnyrigg chairman Charles Kirkwood welcomed Connery’s support, adding: “It’s fantastic to hear of this message of goodwill from a man of the stature of Sir Sean.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com