Jonny Stewart has vowed that Bonnyrigg Rose will use the pain of their Scottish Junior Cup semi-final exit to inspire them to retain their Super League title.
Rose crashed out 1-0 on aggregate after Saturday’s goalless second leg with Glenafton as they missed out on their first Junior Cup final since 1978.
The New Dundas Park men knew one goal would take the tie to penalties, but that strike proved elusive as they struggled to create many openings with the visiting defence resolute.
“We are absolutely devastated to come this far and to get knocked out of the semi of any competition, never mind the Scottish Cup, it is pretty hard to take,” said captain Stewart.
“I don’t think there was much in it over the both legs. Glenafton took their chance last week and we huffed and puffed, created a couple of clear-cut chances but they defended well.
“We put them under a lot of pressure in the last 15 to 20 minutes but their back four did well and their goalie collected everything we put into the box.
“We’ve not experienced too many disappointments like this the last couple of seasons. We just have to pick ourselves up. We still have a lot to play for, we’re still going for the league and the other two competitions.
“The main focus turns to the league, we’ve not really taken our eye off the league even though we’ve had a great run in the William Hill Scottish Cup and the Junior Cup. It’s in our own hands. It’s going to be difficult with the amount of games we’ve got; we’re going to be playing Monday, Wednesday, Saturday most weeks, so it’s going to be hard but we’ll give it our best shot.”
Home defender Kerr Young could have given Rose the perfect start inside the first minute. Young got on the end of Adam Nelson’s free-kick but he snatched at the shot and it drifted harmlessly wide.
Rose striker Keiran McGachie went down in the box under a push from Craig Menzies on six minutes, but their appeals were ignored by referee Chris Graham.
Dan Orsi, Glens’ hero from the first leg, was inches away from giving the home side a mountain to climb on 11 minutes, his shot just edging past Michael Andrews’ left-hand post.
The usually-reliable Wayne McIntosh should have pulled Rose level in the tie on 19 minutes. The free-scoring striker got his head on the end of Dean Hoskins’ header to the back post but glanced wide with the goal at his mercy.
A fine save from visiting goalkeeper Brian McGarrity denied McIntosh shorty after, with his header destined for the roof of the net until Glens’ top performer got his fingertips on it to tip over. Nelson’s backwards header from Jonathan Brown’s cross had McGarrity troubled after the interval, but he did well to avert the danger under pressure.
Rose were still to find their rhythm, the ball bypassing them in midfield at times as they went route one in search of their required goal, but with McGachie marshalled well by centre back Bryan McChesney, it was clear that tactic wasn’t working.
Andrew Kidd was brought on in place of Nelson to add some height to the Rose midfield as they continued to flood forward.
They had keeper Andrews to thank for keeping them in the tie, however, the stopper producing a stunning save to deny David Gray’s free-kick which looked odds-on for the top corner.
Rose boss Robbie Horn made his last throw of the dice on 70 minutes with Sean Jamieson introduced and right-back Brown replaced by winger Scott Gray.
That attack-minded switch had little effect, however, as Rose were unable to create anything of note in the remainder of the match, with visiting keeper McGarrity claiming every cross which was flung into his area.
Rose boss Horn says they have to pick themselves up immediately with an important league game tonight away to Camelon.
He said: “When you get a chance in a big game like that, you’ve got to take it and we didn’t do it.
“The best chance of the two games came to us – with Wayno’s header and you would’ve put your mortgage on him scoring. We’ve just got to pick ourselves up now, we’ve got a big league game tonight [at Camelon].”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Brown (Gray), Donaldson, Young, Hoskins, Stewart, Turner, Horne (Jamieson), McGachie, Nelson (Kidd), McIntosh.
Glenafton Athletic: McGarrity, McAusland, Marlow (Cairns), Menzies, McChesney, Park, Orsi (Lyness), Gray, Andrew, Carter (McCann), McGill.