Linlithgow Rose boss eyes reaction to derby defeat

Andy Shirra, who is out of tomorrow's match, is sent flying in the Scottish Cup

Andy Shirra, who is out of tomorrow's match, is sent flying in the Scottish Cup

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LINLITHGOW boss Mark Bradley doesn’t have his troubles to seek as his side prepare for the season’s first ‘War of the Roses’ tomorrow.

The Prestonfield side host Super League leaders Bonnyrigg still reeling from losing their first league match in 21 months when they were thumped 4-1 at the home of bitter rivals Bo’ness last weekend. Linlithgow finished the derby match with nine men following the dismissals of John Ovenstone and Andy Shirra for violent conduct.

Both players will miss tomorrow’s game, as will Ruari MacLennan, who is also suspended following his red card against Newtongrange Star on December 21.

Adam Nelson, who was injured in training before the Bo’ness game, is also likely to miss out.

Bradley was furious with the events of last weekend and warned his side that a repeat performance won’t be tolerated. “The players who played last Saturday let themselves, the committee and the supporters down,” said Bradley.

“A lack of discipline from experienced players cost us dear. The double sending-off gave a good side like Bo’ness all the opportunities they needed and made it easier for them to kill the game off. We can’t afford a repeat of that tomorrow.

“We have to get that result out of our system and concentrate on bouncing back quickly to our best form.

“We need to get back on track with a win against Bonnyrigg. Hopefully we can kick on and make last week’s result a long forgotten memory.”

Bonnyrigg sit proudly at the top of the table after bouncing back from a poor start to the season.

They lost in the first round of the Scottish Junior Cuo to Bo’ness after a replay at Newtown Park and that knocked their confidence.

Since then, however, they have regrouped and currently hold a four-point advantage over Linlithgow having played four games more.

While glad to have points in the bag, manager Max Christie is wary of a backlash from the champions.

“Linlithgow very rarely suffer back-to-back defeats so they will come out fighting,” said Christie.

“It’s a must-win game for us as they have games in hand and we would need them to start dropping points on a regular basis.

“We had a poor start to the season after beating Carnoustie 4-0 on the opening day but the lads have done brilliantly since we were knocked out of the Scottish Cup. To sit on top of the table at the turn of the year feels great.

“We’ve done really well recently and only have only lost something like four goals in our last nine games so the defence is holding firm.

“Last Saturday against Ballingry we couldn’t break them down and it was disappointing to draw 0-0, but we have the players who are good enough to go to Prestonfield and get a result.

“I know it’s seen as a must-win game for Linlithgow as well but they could afford to lose again and still come on strong towards the end of the season.”