Bo’ness hunting points to take them clear at top

Stuart Hunter is pleased with the increase in clean sheets for Bo'ness
Stuart Hunter is pleased with the increase in clean sheets for Bo'ness
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Bo’ness United defender Stuart Hunter insists his side must seize their opportunity to go top of the Super League outright tomorrow afternoon.

Joint-top Bo’ness host Musselburgh Athletic at Newtown Park while title rivals Bonnyrigg Rose are on cup duty.

Bo’ness lost out on the league crown last season as they played catch-up with Kelty Hearts while they competed on all fronts including a run in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Hunter hopes to put Bonnyrrigg, who have three games in hand over the BUs, in that position.

“It is important that we get the victory,” said the 33-year-old.

“We’ve been on the flipside of that, granted it’s only a game or two. We’ve been in that position ourselves when we had runs in the senior and junior Scottish, where you get to the end of the season and the games take their toll. If you are playing two or three games a week, you will pick up injuries and you start to drop points.

“We need to make sure that we get the points on the board. Points on the board are far, far more important than having games in hand.

“It’s paramount that we continue our good home form.”

Bo’ness are on a decent run of form since their shock exit from the Scottish Junior Cup to Troon in November, winning their last six matches. Centre-back Hunter, however, believes they’ve yet to hit top form.

He said: “Everybody is in agreement that we haven’t played that well, there’s no shying away from that, but it’s points on the board that count. If you win the league at the end of the season nobody is going to care how you’ve won it.

“We just need to get a wee bit more consistency I think. We’ve not really hit the heights this season in terms of performance but I think it shows good character that, although we’ve not played to our potential in the vast majority of games, we still find ourselves joint top of the league.

“We’ve had a quite lot of changes with personnel and the defence took a wee while to settle. We now seemed to have settled down a wee bit and are starting to keep clean sheets.

“We have ground out a lot of results but I think that’s one thing about Bo’ness – the work rate and the commitment to win is never in question. Sometimes we are maybe just lacking that wee bit of quality to finish teams off. There is certainly room for improvement. Hopefully, we can settle down and kick on from here.”

One problem for manager Allan McGonigal this campaign has been getting a settled striker. Summer arrival from Sauchie Darren Cummings started the season on fire before he surprisingly returned to his former club. Hitman Darren Gribben has also recently left, while Portuguese striker Pedro Moutinho has returned to his homeland.

Youngster Fraser Eddington has since arrived from Stenhousemuir along with fellow frontman James McAteer and Hunter says it is up to their recent arrivals to fight it out for the No.9 position.

He added: “We’ve got players who have come in who have waited on their chance and they now have got the opportunity to step up to the plate. With a relatively tighter squad it should give us a chance to get more consistency in team selection which should hopefully bode well.

“Fraser Eddington scored on his debut and he looks a pretty good young player and we’ve signed James McAteer from Falkirk Juniors.

“He certainly looks like he has a bit about him, but the proof is in the pudding as to whether he can nail down that centre forward position himself – that’s up to him.

“He certainly has the opportunity with the lack of strikers we have.”

Elsewhere, Newtongrange Star and Linlithgow Rose, who both still have a big say in the title race, visit Hill of Beath and host Broughty respectively. Penicuik Athletic are away to St Andrews.