Rose skipper sure joy for Rovers is not guaranteed

Linlithgow face a stiff test against the Raith team of Grant Murray, below. Picture:Steven Scott Taylor
Linlithgow face a stiff test against the Raith team of Grant Murray, below. Picture:Steven Scott Taylor
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Linlithgow Rose captain Mark Tyrrell will lead his side out at Prestonfield tomorrow for an occasion the likes of which the Junior ground has never seen before.

Almost 2500 spectators are expected to cram into Rose’s home for the William Hill Scottish Cup third-round tie against Championship club Raith Rovers. For Tyrell, in his eighth season with the club, it will be a game to treasure.

The right-back missed out on Linlithgow’s best run in the competition so far, in their maiden season in the competition, when he broke a metatarsal bone in his foot just weeks prior to their fourth round visit to Palmerston against Queen of the South in 2008, which they lost 4-0. He has been waiting patiently for tomorrow to come.

“Since the draw was made, even at training when you are trying not to think about it, somebody always mentioned something about it,” admitted Tyrrell.

“It’s been in the back of everybody’s mind so it’s good that the game is nearly here.

“The main thing was focussing on the games leading up to tomorrow’s game because they were obviously massive for us. It’s been good to win those games and that’s given us a wee bit of form going into this one.”

Tyrrell remembers watching from the sidelines at Dumfries on crutches as First Division Queens swept aside the Junior Cup holders with ease on a freezing January afternoon. Their attitude before the match was different back then, however – the Rose squad didn’t believe they could get a result.

According to Tyrrell, the current squad believe that they can get a result although they aren’t expected to cause full-time Raith too much trouble and that they can go into the match without pressure.

When looking back at the Queen of the South match, he said: “There was a different atmosphere amongst the squad going into that game. There wasn’t much talk at all about us causing an upset that day, whereas Danny {Smith] is trying to install a bit of belief in us this time round – we are at home and it’s 11 against 11 so anything can happen.

“We had a wee chat with Danny before we went out for training on Monday about how big the occasion is and to expect a big crowd – he told us just to focus. He told us to believe that we are in with a half decent chance and we can maybe pull off an upset.

“There is no pressure on us, all the pressure is on them. At the end of the day if they beat us, they are expected to beat us anyway. They’ll not get too much plaudits if they beat us, but the pressure is there if they don’t.”

With Raith having gone without a win in the Championship in five games since they beat Livingston 1-0 back in September, Tyrrell believes Grant Murray’s side could be low in confidence. And coupled with Rose having gone on unbeaten since an early August loss to Penicuik Athletic, the mental advantage is with the home side.

“It’s good when you develop a winning mentality and they’ve not had that for a wee while, so this is probably the last game they are wanting at the moment, having to come and play us,” continued Tyrrell.

“We are on a good run and we’re playing with confidence. It would be different if they were flying as well, but they could be low in confidence with their recent run of results.”

And with the way Rose are playing at the moment – having notched 13 goals in their last three matches – the defender believes they don’t have to shun their attacking philosophy for a defensive approach.

“I think we should play the way we play as much as we can. We need to let them know early that they are in a game and we aren’t here to admire them. We know we are massive underdogs, but in a way that could maybe help us.

“We’ve got a lot more senior experience in the squad now that have been over the piece and hopefully that will help us as well.”

Rose boss Smith has no injury doubts for tomorrow’s match with midfielder Andy Shirra having resumed training this week after an ankle injury, while Ruari MacLennan is back from holiday.

• ADMISSION for tomorrow’s match is £12 for adults and £7 for and OAPs/Under-18s. Fans are asked to arrive early for the match with a large crowd expected at Prestonfield.

Linlithgow have warned that any spectator who attends the match under the influence of alcohol will be refused entry.