FORMER Hearts midfielder Mark Bradley is the new Linlithgow manager after beating off stiff competition to get the nod as successor to Dave Baikie.
It is Bradley’s first crack at being a boss, though he shared the responsibility for picking the Lithgae team with Ian Gallacher and Danny Smith between Brian Fairley’s departure and Baikie arriving at Prestonfield.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get this opportunity,” he told the Evening News. “It’s a big job to get for your first one but here goes.”
Bradley joined Rose at the start of the 2007 season and was awarded a new contract earlier this year after recovering from a bad leg break. Since being handed temporary control following the departure of Baikie and his two assistants, he has led Lithgae to back-to-back victories over St Andrews and Kirkcaldy YM, beating the latter 8-0 in the Fife & Lothians Cup last Saturday.
“I didn’t have anything to gauge my interview on as I hadn’t been through that process before, but I must have done okay,” he added. “I’ve seen people come and go during my time at this club, but I must have done something right over the past few years. I was hoping to get a reaction from the players in the games I’ve been in charge over the past few weeks and last Saturday was particularly pleasing as games like that can often be sticky affairs.
“The players seem to be buying in to what I am trying to do and long may that continue.”
Bradley is locked in talks already with a potential assistant, though former Dunfermline defender Derek Fleming, who is also on Lithgae’s books at the moment, is likely to form part of a new coaching team.
“Derek has been helping me out and also has great experience and contacts in the game. If I can get the No. 2 I am after, I think we will have a great wealth of contacts between us.”
On potential signings, Bradley added: “I honestly don’t think I have a bad player in my squad but, at the same time, I will probably add one or two, with my priority likely to be adding to our defensive options.”
Due to the festive shutdown, the new manager will have to wait until January 7 for his first game in the hotseat on a permanent basis. But he couldn’t have got a tougher test to start with Lithgae due to play local-rivals Bo’ness that day in a Super League clash that will be vital to both teams.
“That should actually make my job easier because our players should be well up for that one,” insisted Bradley. “It will also be useful that, in addition to having played in these games, I also picked the Linlithgow team for a match against Bo’ness when we were between managers a few seasons back.”
Confirming Bradley’s appointment on the club wesbite, Linlithgow said: “Mark joined the club at the start of the 2007 season and has helped the club to two Scottish Cup wins in that time. He has had two spells as caretaker boss and now steps up to take over the job.”
Also speaking to the website, Bradley added: “Our aim is to win the league and do well in the Fife & Lothians Cup. But our priority is to win the Super League to get into the Senior Scottish Cup.”