Linlithgow boss’s generation start to make impact

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LINLITHGOW boss Mark 
Bradley is delighted to be one of the Hearts old boys involved in stopping Scottish football’s managerial merry-go-round.

Gone are the days when every job that became available went to the same old faces. Club chairmen are turning more and more to younger managers.

And a number of new bosses in the Scottish game were all former Hearts team-mates around the same time. New Jambos manager Gary Locke, of course, is chief among them but he’s playing catch-up on the likes of Bradley, Grant Murray, Allan Johnston and Max Christie.

Murray has Raith Rovers sitting safely in mid-table in the First Division while Johnston is working his ‘Magic’ at Queen of the South, who are on course to land the Second Division title in style. And both Bradley and Christie have also worked wonders in their first appointments in the Junior ranks.

Christie led Bonnyrigg to the Super League title last season and Bradley is set to land that crown for Linlithgow for the first time in six seasons.

“When I saw that Lockey had been appointed as the new Hearts manager, I sent him a text and wished him all the best,” revealed Bradley.

“I also started thinking about the number of us who were at Hearts around the same time who are now part of the next generation in management.

“In addition to Lockey, there’s Bert at Raith, Magic at Queen of the South and myself and Max at Linlithgow and Bonnyrigg respectively. There’s Paul Hartley, too, and Steven
Pressley as well. Big Elvis played for Hearts around the same era and it’s great to see him do well at Falkirk and now get his chance down south.

“Add in the likes of Jackie McNamara and Simon Donnelly up at Dundee United and there’s a good few in the same age group in charge at plenty of clubs around Scotland now.

“That’s great for all of us and maybe there is a different mentality now when it comes to clubs making managerial appointments. Whereas it once seemed as though it was a bit of a merry-go-round of the same managers, it looks as though clubs are now looking to people who are younger and also that bit keener.”

Bradley was keen to see last weekend’s mouth-watering Emirates Scottish Junior Cup clash against Bo’ness go ahead but the quarter-final tie fell to the weather.

“I’ve never seen a game called off at Prestonfield due to water-logging in all the time I’ve been here – I couldn’t believe it,” said the Lithgae boss. “In the end, there was just too much rain and, in fairness, it was probably the right decision as it would have been horrible to play in those conditions and also horrible to be standing watching.

“Nevertheless, I was gutted it was off. We’re on a good run and we want to keep it going. The last thing I want is an important match like this to be prolonged due to a string of postponements so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this weekend.”

Rose have now completed a full year unbeaten. They’ve achieved that by playing some great football but, at the same time, have managed to remain largely injury-free.

Bradley reckons that’s not purely down to coincidence. “Anyone who has watched us in the last year or so will 
have seen that our players rarely go to ground in games,” he said.

“They don’t go flying into stupid tackles. We try to play a pressing game so they know there is no point diving in. I reckon that’s why we’ve not been hit with any long-term injuries.

“Our physio is hardly on the park in games and long may that continue. It should if we keep trying to move the ball as quickly as we have been.”