Deserved plaudits for Bonnyrigg as McKenna’s strike clinches title

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Bonnyrigg ROSE are the new Super League Champions after beating Carnoustie thanks to a first half strike from man-of-the-match midfielder Liam McKenna.

It was very controlled performance from the new champs, who over the season have been the best side in the division. In the end they could have lost on Saturday and still won the title as Hill Of Beath failed to beat Musselburgh, but Max Christie’s men wanted to finish the season on a high.

For boss Christie it was sheer delight. He said: “The boys were back to something near their best today and over the season have proved to be the best team in the Super League.

“All the players did their part and stuck to their tasks. It’s been a fantastic season for everyone at the club, I’m so proud of them all. The defeat at home top Hill of Beath recently gelled the players to lift their game and after a couple of poor cup results bounced back to form.

“Carnoustie made a game of it today but we deserved to win today. It’s been a great day for the supporters who came out in big numbers for us. We thank them and hope they continue to follow us next season.”

There was a big travelling support from Bonnyrigg, who were out to enjoy the occasion in the bright sunshine. The game was pretty even in the opening 20 minutes but gradually Bonnyrigg found a rhythm. In the 28th minute they took a deserved lead. Sean Grady lobbed a ball from the half way line into a ruck of players around the 18 yard box. James Steele blocked a couple of defenders, allowing Liam McKenna to latch onto the ball and slam it into the net for what turned out to be the only goal of the game. Carnoustie fought back but the Rose defence were immense, giving nothing away. Keeper Michael Burgess, carrying a groin strain, was there when needed as well.

The second half started the same as the first. Bonnyrigg were controlling the game at their pace. Paul Shields playing up front with Steele almost grabbed a terrific second goal midway through the half. He pounced on a cut back but his effort came crashing back off the post. Carnoustie still tried hard and did hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot from Steven Cook but it was Bonnyrigg who were running the show. Keeper Burgess had to be at his best when Kevin Cumming’s effort came through a pack of players.

As news filtered through that Hill Of Beath were losing the atmosphere at the ground became relaxed with everyone waiting on the final whistle. When it came the players realised for the first time that they were the new champions and the celebrations began.

The Super League trophy was presented to Club Captain Ross Archibald and he spoke after wards, saying: “It’s been a difficult week for us, losing in two cups but coming here today and getting the result we all wanted was terrific. I picked up a niggling injury in training and couldn’t start so it was good of the gaffer to let me, Chris Gray and Alex King to come on and feel part of the team at the end.

“Over the season we feel we have played some great football and come so close to making the Cup Final, but, that’s football. We can now look forward to the Senior Scottish Cup next year. I’ve played in it a few times with Spartans and it’s a cup you can’t win. But you can get some great games to places you’ve never been before. There a lot to look forward to but for now we’ll celebrate today. “

Man of the Match and goal scorer Liam McKenna said,: “Delighted, absolutely delighted for the win, for everyone at the club, the supporters who have been terrific for us all season, it’s what they deserve. We had a set back with the Hill Of Beath game but that was a battle and we won the war. We were always confident we would win the title and today we did that.

“At the goal Sean hit the pass over the top and Steely pulled a couple of defenders away and I put the laces through the ball.”

For Bonnyrigg it’s been a terrific season. They have proved worthy winners with Christie at the helm. He has brought together a squad of experienced players who have played the best football over the piece. They deserve all the plaudits coming their way.

Carnoustie: Jamieson, Narey, Ferguson, Tonner, Miller, Mathew, Cook (Cook), Robertson, Cumming, Watson (Roberts), Gates. Subs: Hendrie, McIlravey, McSkimming, Perera, Clark.

Bonnyrigg: Burgess, McLeish, Morrice (Gray), Woodburn, Bunyan, McKenna, Grady, Burrell (King), Steele, Shields (Archibald), Sv Thomson. Subs: Hendrie, Sp Thomson, McCallum, Ellison.