Former Linlithgow Rose player Roddy MacLennan heaped more misery on the relegation-threatened Prestonfield outfit as he bagged a brace in Bo’ness’ 2-0 win over their arch rivals.
MacLennan and his brother Ruari – who also made the switch to Bo’ness from Lithgae – still live less than a mile from Linlithgow’s ground, but sentimentality went out the window at Newtown Park as the midfielder struck twice to cement the BUs’ top-three position in the Super League and put more pressure on Rose, who now face a real fight to avoid automatic relegation and the play-offs.
Bo’ness’ goals came late in the second half against a Linlithgow side who perhaps merited more, but couldn’t make their superiority tell when it mattered.
“It was good to get the goals because Linlithgow looked the better side in the second half,” said MacLennan, who had come on as a second-half substitute. “It was a bit of a scramble at the first because it hit the back of my heel then the keeper looked to have clawed in out, but the linesman said it had crossed the line.
“The second one I knew I had to do something because I was up against Gaz (Gary Thom) and he’s a big strong boy so I turned inside and let go and luckily it found the top corner.
“I think Linlithgow will stay up because they have been playing well without scoring a lot of goals though and that’s been their problem. We’ve been playing really well ourselves. We play Linlithgow in the Fife and Lothians Cup and we’ll be confident of winning that one.”
Bo’ness, mindful of the visitors’ poor form, went at Linlithgow from the off and pegged them back without creating many clear cut chances. Their first real opportunity came on 20 minutes when Will Snowdon was denied by a fine save by Darren Hill, but ten minutes later Rose almost took the lead themselves when Tommy Coyne powered a header towards goal, only for it to smack Bo’ness keeper Andy Murphy in the face rather than find its way into the net.
Linlithgow were again denied a goal minutes into the second half when Colin Lieper smashed a header off the bar from a Jack Beaumont corner as Jimmy Crease’s men grew in confidence.
The game though turned in the 85th minute. The Linlithgow defence failed to clear a free-kick from Robert Sloan and as the ball pinged around the six-yard box, MacLennan’s back-heel was ruled over the line by the linesman despite the keeper’s efforts to claw the ball away.
Then, in the last minute, replacement Conor Scullion went on a terrific run before sliding the ball to MacLennan out on the left wing. He turned inside Thom and curled a beauty into the top corner with the keeper nowhere.
Stand-in Linlithgow manager Crease is aware they are now running out of games. “That’s just five games we have to play in the League now and with results like this we’re running out of time,” he lamented. “The players gave 100 per cent today and with a slice of luck could have won this one.
“We’ve been playing good football without scoring enough goals to make ourselves comfortable. We’re in the position we’re in because that’s football. We don’t have a divine right not to relegated, the same as every other side in the land. We’ll need to fight harder against Musselburgh on Wednesday night if we’re to start turning things around.”
Bo’ness manager Allan McGonigal added: “I’d like to say it was an inspired substitution putting Roddy on against his old club, but I felt we needed to pick the game up a bit and he turned it on scoring the opener.
“Young Conor Scullion came on and he looks a player. He’s young quick and can play a bit. He laid the ball on for Roddy’s second and showed a great attitude for the game.
“That’s us finished in third spot in the table and we’re still in the Fife and Lothians Cup. We play Linlithgow in the next round and hopefully this result gives us the confidence to beat them again.”
Bo’ness: Murphy, Gemmell, Snowdon, Gibb, Campbell, Ru MacLennan, Strickland, Donnelly, Keast, Sloan, Wright. Subs: Zubaidi, Ro MacLennan, Scullion, Smith, Tierney.
Linlithgow: Hill, Thom, Donaldson, Beaumont, McKenzie, Lieper, McNab, Williams, Kelbie, Coyne, Batchelor. Subs: Kelly, Gray, Swan, Coogan, Ellison.