Ruari MacLennan could never envisage taking his place in the away dressing room at Prestonfield, never mind playing in the blue and white of fierce rivals Bo’ness United.
The midfielder, along with brother Roddy, will make a return to Linlithgow, the club they supported as boys having grown up in the West Lothian town, on Saturday – a place where they have spent the majority of their careers.
After six years with Rose, Ruari thought he would be at the club until the end of his playing days, but after Roddy was offered just a three-month contract at the end of last season, so they both opted for pastures new.
Revealing the details behind his exit, Ruari is understandably disappointed by how his time at his boyhood club ended, but he’s already adapted to life down the road at Newtown Park – even buying a blue car which he’ll drive to Prestonfield tomorrow.
“To be honest I didn’t think the two of us would ever leave,” said MacLennan. “We didn’t want to leave at the end of the day, but we are happy at Bo’ness now, we’re getting treated well so we can’t complain.
“They only offered Roddy a three-month contract. He was injured, he snapped his Achilles at the start of last season and he got a phone call and they said they were offering him a three- month contract on reduced terms to prove himself almost. That was the main reason the two of us left.
“I’ve supported Linlithgow since I was young, I live just down the road, I went to all the Scottish Cup runs since I was a ten year-old boy. We felt it was a bit of a lack of respect. I think they took us for granted as such, so we felt we’d go somewhere that wanted us.
“It will be a bit of a funny one going back there, especially with Bo’ness – I couldn’t have imagined that.
“I’m used to turning right when I go in but I’ll be turning left. I’ve actually never been in the away changing room – we always used the home one. I could walk along but I always take my car. I’ve got a new car this year, a blue one, so they’ll be thinking I’m taking the mick!”
The MacLennnan brothers were joined by striker Colin Strickland in crossing the divide in the summer, while former Rose forward Calum Smith also linked up with Allan McGonigal’s squad.
After admitting he felt slightly wary ahead of his first training session with the BUs, MacLennan has bedded in well with players he’s been used to battling with in high-octane derby clashes. He believes the squad McGonigal has built is capable of putting in a Super League title challenge while he’s desperate to get his hands on silverware after a trophy-less three years with Rose.
He continued: “The first training session was a funny one. Going down to Newtown was a bit of a strange one. I was expecting a bit of a hostile reception but all the boys were brand new to be fair. They all welcomed me and Rod, Coco and Calum Smith.
“I’ve been highly impressed with Chrissy Donnelly, you always thought with Chris he was a big tackler in the middle of the pitch, but football wise he’s up there – he’s one of the best I’ve played with. Nicky Walker and Will Snowdon as well. You think Will is just a right back, but he’s a really good football player.
“We’ve got a great squad. I think we’ve got 21 or 22 signed, but we’ve had a lot of injures already to be fair. Everyone bar three has had an injury of some sort this season.
“You want to be winning stuff in the Juniors. We never won anything at Linlithgow for two or three years, so I’m hoping to win something this season. I’d love to win the Scottish, that’s the one I need to win from a personal point of view, but the league is still something that you strive to win.
“Kelty and Bonnyrigg are both really good teams, but we’re more than capable with the squad we’ve got.”