Bo’ness United boss Allan McGonigal fears his team selection in Wednesday night’s defeat by Newtongange Star could cost his side the Super League title.
The BUs had their title destiny in their own hands after defeating league leaders Kelty Hearts last weekend, but lost out 3-2 to Star who are firmly in the hunt themselves. The loss ended a run of 13 league matches undefeated for the BUs since they lost to Nitten in November.
McGonigal pitched left-back Stewart Devine into the action for his first appearance since the 2-1 defeat of Linlithgow Rose at the end of March and the defender clearly wasn’t fit, having only trained sparingly since being sidelined with tonsillitis. He was withdrawn midway through the first half.
“I picked the wrong team on Wednesday night and probably shouldn’t have played Stewart Devine, but everything is all about hindsight,” he said. “Stewart wasn’t ready to play, but with Will Snowdon going on holiday I thought I’d give him 45 minutes to an hour because he’s going to be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”
Bo’ness, who are nine points behind Kelty, have to hope the Fife club lose one of their remaining two league matches to have any chance of retaining their title crown now. The BUs travel to Olivebank to face Junior Cup finalists Musselburgh tomorrow and their focus is on securing all three points.
The last meeting between the two sides was marred by a bust up, with Bo’ness assistant manager Gary Wilcox requiring treatment after he was punched, but McGonigal isn’t expecting there to be bad blood this time.
He said: “I don’t think so, it’s just a football game now. As a football club we aren’t going there with any vendettas. On the night it was a great game of football and I’m sure it will be a good game tomorrow. We’ll go and try and win the game as we always do and whatever happens off the park will look after itself.”
Musselburgh secured their first win in four games on Wednesday night with an incredible 5-4 victory at home to Armadale Thistle after an out-of-sorts run of three defeats and a draw. Burgh had led 4-1 at half-time, but allowed relegation-battling Thistle an escape route in the second half and this frustrated manager Stevie McLeish who feels his side have to start performing better after the interval in matches ahead of their Junior Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot which takes place next month.
“It feels like we are sleepwalking into the cup final with the way we’ve been playing,” he said. “In every game we’ve played recently, we’ve been magnificent in the first half and we’ve seen totally different team in the second half.
“Hopefully we can pick up our form over the next few games and go into the game with a bit of confidence.”
McLeish felt his side were the better team when they lost 4-2 to Bo’ness just over a week ago, he said: “We played really well against them the last time and barring the incident on the touchline, I reckon we had a real good chance of winning it. We were the better team when it was 11 against 11.”
Burgh are without defender Alex Christie who is on holiday, although Andrew Munro could return, but Bob Wilson is set to miss out with a foot injury. The visitors are missing Snowdon, while Stuart Hunter and Andy Scott are still sidelined.