Devine looks forward after crossing Linlithgow-Bo’ness divide

Stewart Devine, pictured in Boness colours, faces his former club tomorrow

Stewart Devine, pictured in Boness colours, faces his former club tomorrow

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Stewart Devine lifted the DJ Laing East of Scotland Cup with Bo’ness United last June, but he’ll be doing all he can to knock them out the same competition with new club Linlithgow Rose tomorrow.

Devine crossed the divide to join fierce rivals Linlithgow earlier this month after cutting his ties with Bo’ness by mutual consent after a six-year stint at Newtown Park.

His departure was unexpected after featuring regularly for the BUs in the first half of the season at left-back before suddenly finding himself exiled from the squad.

He’s still mystified as to why he was dropped. He said: “I just wasn’t getting selected all of a sudden which was weird because I was fit to play and I had played regularly until then.

“I had played the majority of games and, for whatever reason, I was left out with no explanation. I had been there five or six years and still had a year and a half left on my contract to run and expected to see that out.

“I spoke to Allan [McGonigal, Bo’ness manager] and he didn’t really want me to go. I’m 32 years old and I need to play. It would of been different if I was 19 or 20, I probably would’ve just taken it on the chin.”

Former Bo’ness team-mate Steven Hislop, who became assistant to Rose boss Todd Lumsden in November, wasn’t slow in getting on the phone to Devine and a deal until the end of the season was quickly thrashed out.

Although results have been disappointing in recent times for Rose, Devine believes Linlithgow are in a good place with the former Arbroath management duo at the helm. He is confident they’ll have an upturn in fortunes soon.

“I spoke to Hissy and, to be honest, once I knew Linlithgow were interested it was a no-brainier for me,” said Devine.

“All the boys made me feel welcome, although I know most of them from playing against them and probably having a kick at the majority of them.

“It’s a professional set-up. Hissy and the gaffer have got senior experience and they want everything to be as professional as possible. Training is intense and hard. I’ve noticed a difference from going from Bo’ness to Linlithgow. It was a shock for me when I turned up for training on the Monday and it was running – and not just a couple of sprints.”

Both sides will be looking to bounce back immediately from last weekend, making the second-round derby clash even more intriguing. Linlithgow suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Penicuik Athletic, while Bo’ness led 3-0 at home to Lochee United before losing 4-3.

Rose will just be happy to get away from league business having not won at home in the Super League since August, although Bo’ness were 3-0 victors at Prestonfield back in September.

Devine added: “We know we’re probably going to get to the stage where we’ll be playing games Monday. Wednesday, Saturday. Which, if you are winning it can be good but, if you are trying to grind out results down the bottom of the league, it can be hard. With me only being here a few weeks, it’s hard to say what’s being going wrong, but I think we will come good because we’ve got far too many good players to be where we are in the league.”