Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn admits his first few months in charge at New Dundas Park couldn’t have gone any better and has urged his top-of-the-table side to carry their excellent from into the new year.
Rose round off 2015 with a trip to Broxburn Athletic tomorrow as they bid to maintain their grip at the summit of the Super League and, in doing so, continue their incredible run of form which was stretched to 16 games without defeat last weekend.
When Horn arrived at the Midlothian club in June having departed Berwick Rangers as assistant manager to Colin Cameron at the end of last season, he held hopes of competing at the top end of the table. But, he couldn’t have foreseen the way in which they have taken command of the title race.
“I just thought if we could be in contention or thereabouts competing [in the league] then we’ve done well,” said Horn. “It’s gone better than I could ever have imagined it to be honest and we just have to keep it going and see where it takes us. There’s a long way to go and there’s some really good teams in the league, who will probably strengthen over the next couple of months as well. They’ve got bigger squads and so they can deal with injuries and suspensions.”
Horn hailed his players’ belief after they regrouped when going down to ten men to take all three points at home to Fauldhouse last week. Rose had marched into a 3-0 lead early in the first half but got pegged back to 3-3, losing striker Fraser McClaren to a red card, before captain Ross Archibald struck late on to secure the victory.
Reminiscing on his time as a player at Shielfield Park with Berwick when they won the Third Division title in the 2006-07 campaign, Horn recalled the team spirit in that side and sees comparisons with his Rose squad although he knows there’s a long way to go in the title race yet.
He said: “The players are playing with confidence at the moment and they have got belief about themselves. They have all got a desire to win football matches and I think that’s the reason why we are picking up results. We just have to see how long it continues. Injuries and suspensions might catch up at some point but at the moment we’re on a good run.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to go on and win the league. You want to go and compete and if there’s a chance to win it, of course you want to go and win it. There are a lot of top quality sides at the top and even the other teams that are in the Super League – every game is a battle. There’s not an easy game in this league.
“There is a great spirit at the club and everyone gets on well with each other which helps as well. Sometimes you get that – you don’t have to have the best squad, you don’t have to have the biggest squad, if you’ve got a good hardworking squad that have got a good team spirit, that can sometimes be enough to be successful. I look at the team that I played with at Berwick when we won the Third Division title, we didn’t have the best team or the biggest squad but we had a great team spirit and boys that were prepared to work hard for each other.”
Tomorrow’s opponents Broxburn are the only blemish on Rose’s recent form card, with Max Christie having led his side to a point against his former club at the start of November. Barring that result, Rose have won their last 12 in all competitions and head to Albyn Park flying in confidence, although Horn is anticipating a tough match.
He added: “I think they are really good side, they are a really good footballing team and have a lot of young, fit, energetic players with good technical ability. Max will have them well drilled for Saturday being against his old club and it’s a wee feather in his cap if he can get a result.”
Striker Wayne McIntosh is back in contention after missing through illness last weekend, although Lewis Turner and Scott Gray are doubtful.