Christie confident ahead of his club’s date with destiny

David Dunn

David Dunn

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MAX CHRISTIE reckons he won’t have to reach the oratory heights of Winston Churchill to ensure Bonnyrigg come out of the trenches with all guns blazing tomorrow.

It’s their day of destiny in this season’s Super League title race, a trip to Carnoustie determining whether or not they can be crowned as champions for a second time in four seasons.

Rose head into their final game holding a two-point cushion over Hill of Beath, who bring down the curtain on their campaign at home to relegation-threatened Musselburgh.

A win for Bonnyrigg and the title is theirs. A draw might also be good enough as they have a better goal difference than Hill of Beath.

It all adds up to a thrilling climax to the campaign and Christie is confident he won’t need to say too much to his players to get them fired up.

“I don’t think I’ll need to stand up in the dressing-room on this occasion and be Winston Churchill,” said the Bonnyrigg boss. “In fact, I don’t think I’ll need to say very much at all.

“This is one of those games where I think the players will be able to find it in themselves what is required to go out and get the job done.”

Rose lifted the Super League title three seasons ago under Alan Miller but Bo’ness have been champions for the last two years.

Now Bonnyrigg are on the verge of reclaiming the crown in their first full campaign with the talented Christie at the helm.

A few weeks back it was advantage Hill of Beath in the title race after they’d won 2-0 in a crunch clash at Bonnyrigg. But the Fifers then dropped points at Bo’ness, opening the door for Rose to regain the upper hand.

“It’s a great position to be in heading into the final game of the season and now we’ve just got to try and finish off the job,” added Christie.

His side was still in the hunt for four trophies a few weeks back – now the league is their last-chance saloon in the chase for silverware.

In the end, being successful has come at a price for Rose due to a ridiculous schedule they’ve had to face over the past few weeks.

Players were running low on energy when they were thumped 7-0 by Linlithgow in the Fife & Lothians Cup last week.

And, on Saturday, it was simply a case of cobbling a team together as they went down 4-0 to St Andrews in the East of Scotland Cup.

Indeed, Christie himself made an appearance as a substitute in the final 20 minutes of that game.

“Even if we’d had our strongest team available I don’t think we’d have beaten Linlithgow as they were very good that night and also a lot fresher than us,” said the Rose manager.

“As for last Saturday, we were just pleased to get that done and dusted so that we can concentrate on this weekend.”

Goalkeeper Mark Weir is still out, as are David Dunn, Chris Gray and Stephen Thomson, the left-back on loan from Berwick Rangers.

But Christie has Sean Grady available again and is also hopeful that Paul Shields, the former Celtic and Raith Rovers striker, will be fit along with young James Steele.

“They are all desperate to play in this one and hopefully we can do it,” added the manager.

“At the start of the season, based on the players we’d added to what was already here when I took over, I thought we had a chance in the title race.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get us here and it would certainly be a great way to finish my first season if we could become champions.”

An interesting aspect of tomorrow’s game is that Carnoustie have already secured their spot in the top flight for another season.

In beating Bo’ness last weekend, they moved above Bathgate, who have finished their campaign, on goal difference.

It means Musselburgh now need to win at Hill of Beath – that game has been rescheduled after being postponed due to the weather last Saturday – to avoid relegation.

Anything less than three points and they’ll be back in the Premier Division next season.

“While Carnoustie being safe might work in our favour, the other side of the coin is that they might play with gay abandon and make it even more difficult for us,” noted Christie.

“But Musselburgh need to win at Hill of Beath to avoid being relegated so I think I’d rather have our game than Hill of Beath’s.

“It is our biggest game of the season and I am confident our players can give us one more big effort, having shown tremendous spirit and character throughout the season.”

Both of tomorrow’s crunch clashes kick-off at 2.30pm.