Rose boss believes the club’s spark is back

Rose manager, Mark Bradley
Rose manager, Mark Bradley
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Mark Bradley admits champions Linlithgow desperately need to build on last weekend’s win over Lochee if they are to have a chance of retaining their Super League title.

The Prestonfield outfit looked in danger of slipping out of the championship race entirely after a four-game run in which they picked up only two points.

However, they stopped the rot with a 2-1 win at home to the Taysiders which kept them within eight points of leaders Newtongrange with two games in hand.

With Bo’ness and Bonnyrigg also sitting above fourth-place Linlithgow, Bradley knows his men, who visit fifth-place Broxburn tomorrow, can ill-afford any more slip-ups.

“We’ve been under a lot of pressure in recent games dropping crazy points when we should have won, but last Saturday a bit of our old spark was back,” said the Rose manager.

“It was a good result last Saturday because we had to battle hard to beat a strong Lochee side. It possibly wasn’t as strong as usual but the signs were there.

“There was a great atmosphere in the dressing-room on Saturday and the boys all talked about what was happening in previous games.

“They weren’t happy with losing and they came out of the traps fighting. You don’t win games jogging and the boys stepped up the pace against Lochee. Now we have to go on a good run and get more points in the bag. Newtongrange have shown how to do it – it’s up to us now to do the same.”

Bradley admits it has been a difficult season for Linlithgow, but he insists there shouldn’t be any sense of doom and gloom about the club.

He said: “The supporters have had a tough time of it, but we are unbeaten at home in the Super League and lost only two games away.

“If we can maintain that kind of form in the run-in then we’ll be in a good position to retain the title. There are still a lot of big games to come and points to be dropped for every side chasing the title. We have another big game tomorrow against Broxburn who have proved this season they can handle the Super League comfortably.”

Colin Strickland, who grabbed the winner against Lochee, is in a race to be fit after being taken off with a badly-bruised shin last weekend. However, the striker feels his side have turned a corner after that hard-fought victory.

Strickland said: “It was good to get a win again and to score the winner, but the team played a whole lot better than in some of our last few games.

“There was a good spirit in the dressing-room and it felt like a cloud had been lifted. It looks like our bad spell could be over. Other teams have bad spells – Newtongrange for example – but they have bounced back and we’ll do the same.”

Broxburn, although just one place beneath Linlithgow, are surely out of the title reckoning as they languish 12 points off the pace, having played more games than all their rivals.

Nonetheless, Steve Pittman’s side represent tough opposition, particularly on a synthetic surface which hasn’t been to everyone’s liking.

Elsewhere in the Super League, Bo’ness, four points off the top with a game in hand, will travel to lowly Musselburgh intent on stepping up their title charge. Bonnyrigg are in Fife to play Kelty, who beat Linlithgow two weeks ago. The Midlothian side know that defeat tomorrow could effectively kill off their faint title hopes.