Max Christie expects a positive reaction from his Bonnyrigg Rose players tomorrow after witnessing the worst display of his time as manager last weekend.
The New Dundas Park men ended up with just eight men as they were humbled by local rivals Arniston Rangers in the East of Scotland Cup last Saturday, with the Premier League side running out 3-1 winners over their Super League opponents.
Christie is eager to see his side get that disastrous afternoon out of their system when they head to Fife to face Ballingry Rovers on league business tomorrow.
“We had a bad result on Saturday there,” said Christie. “It was our worst performance that I’ve had since I’ve been at the club. We let ourselves down. The players collectively let themselves down. We had a big support there and we just didn’t turn up.
“Certain players let themselves and the club down badly last week. We’ll be looking for a big reaction this Saturday and to go and erase that disaster of last Saturday.”
With Rose all but out of the title race in third place – they are five points behind leaders Bo’ness having played two more games – their focus is on matching last season’s second place finish.
Although they are effectively just playing for pride and the runners-up spot, Christie would like his side to finish the season by winning each of their remaining four matches.
“We want to finish this season as strongly as we can and that means winning our remaining fixtures and playing with much more desire and appetite,” said Christie.
With fixtures against Linlithgow Rose and Camelon ahead, Bonnyrigg could have a big say in the destination of the Super League crown.
The Midlothian side would still be well in with a chance of the title themselves if they hadn’t drawn nine of their 26 league games.
Rose have only lost three games in the league all season – the fewest defeats of any of the teams in the top four – and they remain unbeaten away from home.
Christie will be hoping his side can maintain their strong form on the road against Ballingry who are scrapping it out at the other end of the table.
The Bonnyrigg boss has one eye on next season, however, as he looks to strengthen his squad over the summer while tying up current players on new contracts in order to compete again at the top of the table in what will be his fourth campaign in charge.
“We are always looking ahead. We are always looking at what’s gone well and worked for us and where we need to improve,” said Christie.
“We’ve targeted a few players we’d like to bring in while securing the players we want to keep at the club.”
Rose are without defender Chris Gray for tomorrow’s match, with the full-back missing out with hamstring injury, while Kris Renton, David White and Shaun Woodburn could all play despite being sent off in last week’s cup match.
Elsewhere in the Super League tomorrow, Newtongrange Star and Linlithgow Rose have the chance to cut Bo’ness’ lead at the top of the table, with the BU’s in East of Scotland Cup action at Penicuik.
Second-placed Star can close the gap to just a point when they travel to Lochee United, while Rose can move to within four points of the leaders with a win at second-bottom St Andrews.