Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn believes departing captain Ross Archibald will leave a huge void to fill at the club.
The 33-year-old marked his last home appearance before retirement with a goal as the Super League champions wrapped up their relentless league campaign in style against Midlothian rivals Penicuik Athletic in a dress rehearsal of next month’s Fife and Lothians Cup final.
Club stalwart Archibald will hang up his boots for good after the match on June 8 at Olivebank, Musselburgh.
“He’ll be hard to replace for next season,” said Horn. “There’s a good group of players there but he’ll be a big miss and in the changing room as well. He’ll also be a big miss to me – quite often I’ll go and speak to him regarding different bits and bobs, so he’s been there for me to lean on.
“He’s a great guy who is highly thought of by supporters, committee, players and management, so I’m delighted for him to finish off like that.”
Despite knocking four past the visitors, who had striker Ryan McCallum sent-off in the first half, Horn doesn’t think the result will have any bearing on the final.
He said: “The final is a one-off game. You just have to look at the other night, Penicuik beat Kelty 1-0 and the previous game was a 4-0 reverse, so things can turn around very quickly. I’d expect their team to be different, it will be a totally different game.”
McCallum was unlucky not to see his shot hit the back of the net after four minutes. The big striker looked set to score but home keeper Dylan Rooney turned the effort onto the post.
Things turned sour for the former Rose forward after 19 minutes when he appeared to strike defender Ewan Moyes with a flailing elbow. Lucky for him, referee Peter Stuart only deemed the challenge worthy of a yellow.
However, he was soon sent packing – just 12 minutes later in fact, as he clashed with Moyes again – ensuring an uphill task for his team-mates.
Only some fine saves from goalkeeper Youssef Bejaoui ensured the sides went into the break level.
Penicuik’s last line of defence was finally breached five minutes after the restart. Good work from Scott Gray ended with the ball breaking for Adam Nelson who tucked away his strike into the bottom corner.
Rose striker Keiran McGachie was upended in the box by David White four minutes later, with Stuart pointing straight to the penalty spot. Regular spot-kick taker Dean Hoskins allowed Archibald to step up and he sent Bejaoui the wrong way before being mobbed by his team-mates.
The Super League’s top goalscorer Wayne McIntosh made it 23 goals for the season after he jinked past Darrell Young following a quick one-two with Gray before keeping his composure to beat Bejaoui.
Substitute Chris Tobin left the best for last with an exquisite lob over Bejaoui and into the top corner from 25 yards out with ten minutes remaining.
Visiting boss Craig Meikle has warned Bonnyrigg to expect an entirely different proposition when they meet in next month’s final.
He said: “It could work out to be a blessing in disguise because it won’t be anything like the team that will play against them in the final, so they won’t know what to expect when the final comes about.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Rooney, Archibald (Brown), Donaldson, Stewart, Moyes, Hoskins, Gray, Kidd, McGachie, Nelson (Tobin), McIntosh (McLaren).
Penicuik Athletic: Bejaoui, Fraser, Blaikie (McDermott), White, Young, Devlin, Gay, Janczyk, McCallum, Thomson, Lough.