Linlithgow boss Danny Smith has ordered his humbled side to ensure newly-crowned champions Bo’ness are not allowed to lord it in tomorrow’s Super League derby at Prestonfield.
Smith represented Rose with distinction as a player so knows from plentiful experience just how important the clash with their old West Lothian rivals is in any circumstances.
But having just had their title taken off them by Bo’ness and, with a Fife and Lothians Cup final between the sides coming up early next month (date and venue to be confirmed), Smith insists Linlithgow have a major point to prove.
As a result, he won’t allow them to go through the motions in tomorrow’s league showdown even though they had their faint hopes of catching the BUs ended in midweek.
“The league campaign may be over but I want to use tomorrow’s game as a marker as to how my players respond to what happened in midweek,” said Smith.
“I want the players to show me just how much it hurts and go out and get the result which will take some of that hurt away. They have to stand up and be tall against the champions.
“Winning every game we play is important to this club and a win over Bo’ness is what I wanted every time I played against them.
“That’s the way it’s going to be when I’m in charge here. Tomorrow’s game and the cup final are what we train hard all season for.
“There are cup final jerseys up for grabs, so the players have to step up to the mark tomorrow. I know these games are hard to play in but, it’s not just about the players – it’s the supporters who hope to have the bragging rights after the game.
“The league campaign is over and we congratulate Bo’ness on their achievement, but it’ll be business as usual come kick off tomorrow.”
Bo’ness will arrive at Prestonfield basking in the glory of their third title success in five seasons after their 5-1 victory over Lochee in midweek killed off any lingering chance of tomorrow’s derby being a championship decider.
Although the trophy is already tucked away in the Newtown Park cabinet, Alan McGonigal is adamant that his team will be in no mood for downing tools when they rock up at the home of their bitter rivals tomorrow.
The manager is intent on beating Rose for the second time in the league this season and giving the BUs support, who will be in party mood, even more cause for celebration.
“Tomorrow’s game against Linlithgow is for the supporters who have been tremendous for us all season. This is a reward for that support. I can’t tell you how important they are to the club. Of course, having that support increases the expectation levels at the club, but the players here have responded to that pressure in the past five seasons.
“I don’t care if our fans go there in fancy dress, we are going there to win and do the double over our biggest rivals.
“I hadn’t even thought about the game against Linlithgow until after Wednesday’s game – we were concentrating on beating Lochee so much.
“There may be nothing at stake tomorrow in terms of the title, but try telling that to the players. It doesn’t matter what line-up I put out, they will still be up for this one. It would be nice to complete the league double over them.”
In addition to the joy of winning the league, Bo’ness have also ensured they will be back among the big boys in next season’s William Scottish Cup. “It means we can give our support another adventure like playing Fort William and Cowdenbeath in the Scottish, but to beat Linlithgow tomorrow gives our support bragging rights until the next time,” added McGonigal.