Linlithgow skipper: League doesn’t lie – players must take blame

Colin Leiper reckons the squad has let down fans, officials and themselves. Picture: Michael Gillen

Colin Leiper reckons the squad has let down fans, officials and themselves. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Linlithgow Rose captain Colin Leiper insists the players have to take responsibility for the club’s current predicament as they fight for survival in the Super League.

Manager Todd Lumsden and his assistant Steven Hislop were shown the door at Prestonfield last week with the Rose committee believing a change was essential to prevent relegation from the top flight for the first time.

Lumsden was the second boss to depart Linlithgow this season, with former manager David McGlynn resigning back in October. With two bosses leaving in just seven months, Leiper reckons the blame doesn’t just rest with those on the touchline.

“Everybody has got a difference in opinion and my opinion is that as a team we haven’t performed,” said Leiper. “I don’t think you can just continually change managers and it being the managers’ fault all the time. I think a certain level of responsibility has to be pointed towards the players and that’s including me.

“I think on this occasion it’s unfortunately not worked under Todd and Hissy and ultimately they’ve been the ones that have had to be sacrificed because of it. As a group of players and individuals we just haven’t performed to the level we should be and that’s not just been under Todd and Hissy, it’s been from the start of the season. The league table doesn’t tell any lies and we are seeing that just now.

“I would like to think that the players are feeling like they’ve let down not just the management, but themselves, the fans, and the boys that work day in, day out for Linlithgow. The standards just haven’t been good enough this season and for two managers to get leave in eight months doesn’t just tell you it’s the managers’ fault, it tells you their might be something wrong with the personnel and the performances of the players.”

Second-bottom Rose visit fierce rivals Bo’ness United at Newtown Park tomorrow seeking three points which would prevent automatic relegation to the Premier League, condemning Newtongrange Star to the second tier.

For Leiper, it is a return to his former club and he’s eager to prevent the BUs doing the league double over Linlithgow. The centre back sat out the first meeting in September – as Bo’ness triumphed 3-0 – with a knee injury and he’s thankful to his former manager and assistant for aiding his recovery.

He continued: “I missed the first half of the season with my knee, but got back injury free, lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of fitness under both of them. I need to thank them because the amount of games I am playing just now is testament to the fitness levels they got me too.

“I enjoyed my time under them. Training was always good, it was professional and organised. That’s football at the end of the day and if Linlithgow felt they needed to make a change then I respect that and at the end of the day I’m contracted to play football, not to worry about who is managing the team.”

Caretaker bosses Jimmy Crease and Alan Miller took over last Wednesday but only took their first training session last night due to the amount of games Rose have had to contend with.

Rose’s problem has been scoring goals this season with their defensive record one of the best in the league. They’ll have to be on their guard tomorrow, however, with Bo’ness having struck 16 in their past three games.

Leiper added: “They are keeping things as basic as possible for just now I think, just being compact and making us difficult to beat and trying to put the ball in at the other end. Defensively we’ve actually been pretty decent this season, but we’ve struggled to score a lot of goals. We are creating a lot and Tommy [Coyne] has scored a lot of goals this season, but we can’t just rely on him scoring goals, we should be chipping in from all over the park.

“We put on a much better performance against them last time out and were unfortunate to lose on penalties. I think it’s time we try and get one back on them.”