We’ll leave this place a ghost town as we try to haunt Hibs

Ian Sprott celebrates the cup win over Dumbarton. Picture: Neil Hanna

Ian Sprott celebrates the cup win over Dumbarton. Picture: Neil Hanna

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IT was the greatest night of their lives – but for fans and players at Bonnyrigg Rose, it is soon to be eclipsed.

After battling past Dumbarton on Tuesday, the Midlothian juniors outfit can now look forward to a dream date with Scottish Cup holders Hibs.

Bonnyrigg celebrate their win.  Picture: Robert Perry

Bonnyrigg celebrate their win. Picture: Robert Perry

And while the tie is expected to be switched from Bonnyrigg to Tynecastle, the town where “everyone is a fan” is sure to follow.

“The town is buzzing,” said local businesswoman Anne Sanjaree, of Lothian Motors. “Everyone is on a high and talking about it.”

Lifelong Rose fan and Midlothian councillor Derek Milligan hailed the win and fourth-round draw as “a fantastic chapter in Bonnyrigg history”.

Cllr Milligan, who has volunteered at the club for 20 years, said the town was completely behind Bonnyrigg Rose.

“It’s brought a sense of pride of what’s been achieved here and recognition of all the hard work of the committee, the players and managers,” he said. “I have absolute immense pride in everything that’s been achieved.”

The club are hoping the Scottish Football Association (SFA) will agree to the match being played at Tynecastle which would see them bank more than £100,000 in ticket sales.

And with 70 per cent of the team Hearts supporters and ex-Hearts player Robbie Horn as manager, club secretary Robert Dickson thinks the ground switch will help his side.

“It just makes sense for us to play the game at Tynecastle,” he said. “It would also secure financial stability for us for up to three years. Hibs can have up to 12,000 fans and we are hoping to bring 3000.

“It’s hard to keep a junior club running. Every week we are knocking on people’s doors asking them for sponsorship.

“It would be nice to get a break from that and ticket sales from playing at Tynecastle would be a massive financial gain.”

The club will use its cash windfall to improve facilities for players, a new boardroom and floodlights.

However, Mr Dickson thinks the SFA has missed a trick by not televising the game and robbing the club of further income.

“In my opinion the SFA jumped the gun by appointing the three games allowed to be televised – it would have been a great, great advert for Scottish football – a small town junior club playing the current Scottish Cup holders, Hibernian.”

Described as a football team at the heart of a community, he paid tribute to all the hard work and support that has been given by Bonnyrigg fans.

He said: “We couldn’t do it without the commitment and the desire from the players and the fans. It is second to none – we’re like a big family.”

“Superfan” Ian Sprott, who owns Sprott News and Sweetie Shop, which sells Bonnyrigg Rose merchandise, expects it will be a ghost town come match day.

“I think there will be a massive exodus out of Bonnyrigg. Every man, woman and child.

“There will be nobody left here! It will be a great occasion.”

Ian has also seen an upturn in interest in merchandise: “It’s unbelievable and a marvellous occasion for the town and the club. There is no doubt that an event like this unites a town and even non-football fans are taking part in the celebrations.

“There were 11 heroes on the pitch on Tuesday night and many more behind the scenes.”

Players celebrated at the Royal Oak after the match and manager Bob Thomson is already planning to swap his shift for the big game. He said: “I usually work on Saturdays but I want to be at the game. I am very happy for the team. It means a lot to the people of Bonnyrigg.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk