Bonnyrigg Rose hero dedicates winning goal to ill father

Adam Nelson, right, celebrates Bonnyrigg's historic victory with manager Robbie Horn. Pic: Robert Perry
Adam Nelson, right, celebrates Bonnyrigg's historic victory with manager Robbie Horn. Pic: Robert Perry
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Bonnyrigg Rose hero Adam Nelson dedicated his stunning, history-making strike to his ill father after he sent Rose through to face William Hill Scottish Cup holders Hibs with a third-round replay win over Championship side Dumbarton.

The Newtongrange-born midfielder was gutted his dad, Adam, couldn’t make the tie through illness, especially after seeing his team-mates being lauded by family members at full-time, with few tearless eyes in the 400-strong visiting support who basked in the glory on a dreich winter’s night on the banks of the Clyde.

Nelson 86th-minute effort from outside the area set Rose up for a glamour home tie against the Easter Road outfit. The match is likely to be moved to Tynecastle, with Bonnyrigg’s New Dundas Park ground only able to cater for 3000 spectators. Rose are also set for a cash windfall from the tie, which will allow to them to prosper for years to come.

“The only thing I’m gutted about was my family couldn’t make it,” said former Blackburn Rovers youth Nelson. “My dad is ill at the moment and he’s been having a hard time – he’s had to retire through ill health. He’ll have seen it on Twitter and Facebook through my sister though – he’ll be a happy man. He was the man who travelled me up and down the country when I was a boy, so that’s for him. He’s the guy I’ve got to thank for taking time off his work to tour me about. Just seeing everyone else’s family in there I was getting a bit emotional myself ... I was just gutted he wasn’t there. He’ll probably have a tear in his eye.”

Many had written Rose off after failing to make their domination count in the original tie, with the Super League champions held to a 0-0 draw by the struggling Championship outfit. Underdogs don’t usually get a second bite at the cherry, but backed by manager Robbie Horn, they held an unwavering belief that they could knock out their second-tier opponents and did so with a 1-0 scoreline.

“In the first game at home I thought we had enough chances to win it and everybody was writing us off and saying we had blown our chance,” continued the 32-year-old.

“We were quietly confident. We didn’t have a good result at the weekend in the Junior Scottish Cup, but we prepared well for this – we went to the hotel and had a good pre-match meal.

“Over the two games, certainly the game today, both teams had chances, but I don’t think anybody can argue we won the match over the two games.”

Nelson certainly took his shot at glory when he was presented with it by striker Keiran McGachie, the central midfielder curling the ball with his left foot past the outstretched arm of home goalkeeper Alan Martin and in off the inside of the post before he was mobbed by his delirious team-mates.

Nelson, who works as a custody officer at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court, said: “At home last week I had a couple of chances and they fell to my right foot. I said to one of the coaches, David White, at half-time, ‘I just want one chance with my left foot and hopefully I can do the business’. I saw big Keiran holding it up and I made the run across the front of him. It seemed to take an age to go in, it seemed like it was rolling along the line forever. I kept looking when I was running away and eventually I saw it go over the line.

“I didn’t know where to celebrate – there were no fans at that side and I was never going to make it all the way past the players to get to the other side. I just hit the deck, they all piled on top of me and I couldn’t breathe.

“I said to the people at work for a laugh, ‘Make sure you’re sitting watching Sky Sports News, I fancy my chances tonight’. You can’t write it any better, happy days.”

Nelson will in some way be out for revenge against the Hibees. As a Rangers fan, he only has one fellow Gers team-mate in striker Frasrer McLaren and was on the end of some stick when Hibs ended their 114-year hoodoo in May, with sole Hibee Lewis Turner at the heart of the ribbing.

He added: “I was absolutely devastated last season. We watched the Scottish Cup final at the Rose club and there’s only a few of us who are Rangers fans – I had a few boys like [Lewis] Turner rubbing it in my face. It will be a great experience to face them and anything can happen. We’ve just got to look forward to it.”

Rose have nothing to lose in the intriguing Lothian derby against Hibs in January. They’ve come through five rounds and have already beaten one Championship side, why can’t they outfox another? That will be the fearless attitude they’ll adopt next month.