Ross Philp has revealed that the opportunity to play in the William Hill Scottish Cup was a big factor in him making the move to Bo’ness United during the summer.
Philp, 22, a PE teacher in Dunfermline, joined from Super League rivals Kelty Hearts at the end of last season after spending five years as a youth player with Alloa until injury threatened to cut short his career.
After sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in March 2011, in just his sixth first-team appearance for Alloa, the midfielder spent ten months on the sidelines. It was cruel luck as the then 19-year-old had just broken into the first team after coming through the ranks under boss Allan Maitland.
With Paul Hartley taking over from Maitland in May of that year, Philp was the only signed player on Alloa’s books. A rebuilding job of the entire team took place and the Wasps went on to win the Third Division.
“Having just broken into the team it was brutal,” said Philp.
“I’d started six games in row, with the first game being my first start for the first team. I was doing quite well so it came at the worst possible time. I had just signed a new contract about a week and a half before it happened.”
With Philp studying PE teaching at Edinburgh University, the injury also had an effect on his studies as he couldn’t organise work placement opportunities. He ended up leaving Alloa in summer 2012 after being unable to force his way back into Hartley’s title-winning team towards the end of that season, with Kelty offering him the opportunity to rebuild his career.
Two years with the Fife club came to an end this year, with Bo’ness manager Allan McGonigal making his move.
Philp has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Newtown Park so far and has been surprised with the amount of appearances he has made at a club who won the Super League title last season.
He said: “I’m really enjoying it. I’ve played pretty much every game so that has helped a lot. Going from playing all the time at Kelty I didn’t know with it being a new manager and a new team that I was going to be playing this regularly.
“When I was signing, the Scottish Cup was a big draw in making my decision to come to Bo’ness. To get through the first round and into the second round has been good and hopefully we can keep going.”
Bo’ness host North Super League side Culter tomorrow afternoon in a battle of the North and East champions and it looks a favourable draw on paper for the home side who are hopeful of making it into the third round.
“The fact that we are at home helps, I think. If we were going up there it would’ve been a harder draw obviously,” said Philp. “But being at home and the way we are playing the now, we should do all right, I think. I’ve never played them before. I had a look at their table and they are about middle. They obviously won the league last season so they must be a decent team. Any team we face in the Scottish Cup are going to be a hard test.”
Bo’ness eased through in their first-round match away to Lowland League side Selkirk as they came away with a 4-0 victory, Philp’s first-ever appearance in the competition.
If Bo’ness can make it through tomorrow, Philp is confident that they can give anyone a game. And, with Rangers entering in the third round along with five other Scottish Championship clubs plus the whole of League One, Bo’ness could be handed a lucrative tie.
“I think the top junior teams like ourselves should be able to compete with the lower end teams in League Two and maybe even League One.
“There a lot of ex-seniors in our team and other teams in juniors, who have experience of playing at that level.”
Bo’ness got back to winning ways last weekend with a 3-0 win at home to Fauldhouse United after losing 5-2 at Lochee the previous weekend.
Midfielder Andy Scott is the only player missing for the home side tomorrow.