Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn hailed his side as they closed in on league leaders Kelty Hearts but admitted they must be more ruthless in front of goal if they wish to catch the Fife club.
Ex-Berwick Rangers’ man Dean Hoskins second-half header sealed all three points for Rose as they jumped up to second ahead of a two-week festive break.
With Penicuik Athletic taking a point at Kelty, the result meant Bonnyrigg moved to within 17 points of the Fifers although the Midlothian men have five games in hand.
“It’s a great result for us,” beamed Horn. “I thought we started the game really well and we had chances to score early doors, then Linlithgow came into the game.
“We dominated the game in the second half. The disappointing factor is not putting our chances away. I suppose the great thing is we’re keeping clean sheets but sometimes you’re going to get punished for that. I’d prefer us to start putting the ball in the back of the net and taking a bit pressure off us. It puts pressure on us at the back when we don’t put our chances away.
“It’s going to be really difficult [to catch Kelty] but all we can do when the league games come around is take our chances and get the three points. At the end of the day we came here to get three points and we’ve done that.”
The visitors arguably should have been out of sight inside the opening 15 minutes as they came within a whisker of taking the lead three times.
Keiran McGachie fired the first attempt off after three minutes as the big striker cut in from the left before firing a low shot on target which home goalkeeper Daren Hill beat away for a corner.
Full-back Ruaridh Donaldson has been a key man for Rose since signing on last summer and the 23-year-old swept a tempting ball across goal just a minute later but no one could supply the desired touch.
Lewis Turner was next to try his luck when he blazed over the bar from inside the area after being fed by McGachie, before the winger hobbled off after just eight minutes to be replaced by Scott Gray.
The home side thought they had taken the lead on 20 minutes when Robbie McNab tapped home after being fed by Tommy Coyne, but he had strayed offside – why Coyne hadn’t elected to shoot himself would be a bugbear for home boss Todd Lumsden.
Adam Nelson should’ve put the visitors ahead against his former club three minutes before the interval, but his attempt from six yards out was placed rather than powered and centre-back Jamie McKenzie got there in time to clear off the line.
Wayne McIntosh struck the bar as Bonnyrigg ramped up the pressure early in the second half and they got their reward on 50 minutes.
Nelson’s free-kick was flighted into the area and Hoskins powered his header past Hill to give the red Rose the lead and no less than they deserved.
A raft of bookings meant the second period was a stop-start affair with neither side enjoying too many clear-cut chances.
Linlithgow piled on late pressure with a free-kick but when called upon visiting keeper Michael Andrews took the delivery in safely.
Home boss Todd Lumsden was disappointed his side rarely tested goalkeeper Andrews as he set his sights on getting up the table in the new year – Saturday’s result leaving them 13th.
He said: “I don’t think we did enough. I don’t think we created enough, I know they didn’t create that much but they had a lot more pressure. Ultimately we were done by a set piece.
“Whether it was offside or not, we had the ball in the net. It was quite a good game in the first half and probably good to watch from the stands.
“We didn’t do enough with the ball in the second half. We need to do better home and away. That’s the challenge, to become better and we’ll keep working hard and hopefully go in the right direction.
“The reality was three or four weeks ago that it would be difficult for anybody to catch Kelty. We just need to keep working hard in league games and see where we finish.”
Linlithgow Rose: Hill, McNab, Donaldson, Thom (Trialist), McKenzie, Leiper, Gray, Beaumont (Small), Coyne, Williams, Kelbie (Kelly).
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Horne, Donaldson, Stewart, Young, Hoskins, Turner (Gray), Kidd, McGachie, Nelson, McIntosh (McLaren).