Max Christie calls it quits as Bonnyrigg Rose boss

Max Christie  resigned after Bonnyrigg Rose fell to yet another league defeat. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
Max Christie resigned after Bonnyrigg Rose fell to yet another league defeat. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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Three points from a possible 15 signalled the end for Max Christie’s three-year reign as Bonnyrigg Rose manager.

Christie resigned in the aftermath of the New Dundas Park side’s fourth defeat of the season on Saturday – at home to Linlithgow Rose – which leaves the club joint bottom of the Super League table – a far cry from the glory days of his first season in charge.

Former Dundee and Stenhousemuir player Christie led Bonnyrigg to the Super League title in season 2011/12, while they got to the last four of the Scottish Junior Cup.

Player-coach Steven Hislop, along with defenders Ross Archibald and David White have now been placed in interim charge.

Hislop, who only joined Bonnyrigg in the summer from Super League rivals Bo’ness United, could be a potential replacement to take over from Christie on a permanent basis.

Hislop reflected on the departure of Christie, while insisting the squad have to bounce back, he said: “It’s a shame; it’s never nice when something like that happens.

“He’s said he’s taken us as far as we can go, it’s just time for a change and he’s admitted it.

“It is a shock. We haven’t had the fair rub of the green, but I don’t really know what has went on in the background. He’s said he’s had enough and he needs a break.

“I actually looked over with about 20 minutes to go and he looked like a resigned man. It’s just not been happening for us.”

Although Bonnyrigg sit joint bottom of the table, Hislop insists it is too early to say they are in a relegation fight, although admitting they need to start picking up points.

He said: “We just have to come and train and get our heads down. We’ve got a massive game next week against Fauldhouse who have started the season well. We need to bounce back, we need wins. It’s too early to say we are in a relegation fight.”

Christie cut a frustrated figure in the early stages, with the pressure clearly getting to him as he lambasted referee Mike Taylor for awarding a series of free-kicks in the visitors’ favour.

It was from one of those dead-ball situations that Linlithgow came close to taking the lead on ten minutes, with Adam Nelson curling a free-kick over the bar of Bonnyrigg’s trialist goalkeeper Connar Easton.

Linlithgow looked threatening on the deck as well, with winger Roddy MacLennan again the standout. His delivery provided Tommy Coyne with the opening goal after 17 minutes, the ball fired into the near post area from the left wing and Coyne got in front of his marker to sidefoot home.

The visitors continued to trouble the home defence, although Bonnyrigg did work out an effort of their own on the half hour, but Sean Grady’s effort was matched by keeper Michael McKinven.

Linlithgow got a deserved second goal just five minutes after the interval in spectacular style. Blair Batchelor drilled in a low cross from the right wing and Coyne was on hand to rifle high into the net from six yards for his sixth goal of the season.

Hislop had the chance to pull a goal back with 20 minutes after evading defender Gary Thom to go one-on-one with McKinven, but the keeper parried his shot and Dean Whitson hit the follow up effort wide.

Linlithgow had looked fairly comfortable all afternoon, with Bonnyrigg limited to minimal efforts on goal, but the home side did pull a goal back with three minutes remaining to set up a nervy finish for the visitors.

Substitute trialist Nathan Evans did his chances of winning a deal no harm, with a wonderful strike from fully 20 yards out which looped over the head of keeper McKinven and into the top corner.

Linlithgow manager Danny Smith was delighted to get maximum points after a mixed start to the season.

He said: “It’s a massive three points for everybody, because after five league games it wouldn’t be acceptable if we were sitting on seven points.

“We got a good result, and we now to need to go and build on that. The next couple of weeks are going to be huge for the club.”

Bonnyrigg Rose: Easton, Smith (Whitson), Horne, White, McLeish, Archibald, Stewart, King (Murray), Carse (Evans), Grady, Hislop.

Linlithgow Rose: McKinven, Tyrell, McKillen, Thom, O’Byrne, Nelson, Batchelor, Ruari MacLennan (Shirra), Kelbie, Coyne (Smith), Roddy MacLeannan (Kelly).