Stevie Kerrigan aims to prune Rose in his last Bo’ness match

Bo'ness assistant Stevie Kerrigan, left, has enjoyed great success with manager Allan McGonigal, right. Photograph: Michael Gillen
Bo'ness assistant Stevie Kerrigan, left, has enjoyed great success with manager Allan McGonigal, right. Photograph: Michael Gillen
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Departing Bo’ness United assistant manager Stevie Kerrigan is aiming to end his two-year stint at the club on a high tonight in the Fife and Lothians Cup final at Newtown Park (kick-off 7.15pm).

The new Super League champions could claim their first double since 1948 should they lift the cup when rivals Linlithgow Rose come calling.

Rose were 4-1 winners over United on league business at Prestonfield last weekend, last year’s champs bouncing back after losing their crown. But, rather than being fearful of a repeat outcome one week on, Kerrigan believes it’s the perfect time to avenge the defeat with a win this evening.

He said: “That’s the good thing about it. It wouldn’t have been nice for the boys having to wait until next season to get back at that. Thankfully, we’ve got the opportunity quite quickly to forget the defeat and hopefully we can do that.”

Kerrigan announced his decision to leave Bo’ness at the end of the season last weekend and is planning to take a break for the time being after previous spells at Glenafton and Camelon, insisting there is no ill-feeling between himself and the club.

“I’m needing a break from it and a fresh challenge,” he explained. “The decision has nothing to do with the club, the players or (manager) Allan McGonigal. It’s really down to myself. I’ve been thinking about this for about six weeks.

“I’m just glad my time here has ended with a bit of silverware – winning the league was fantastic and I’ll be leaving on a positive note. It would be fantastic to complete the double tonight. Not only to win the cup, but who we need to beat. I know how much it means to the club when a derby game like this comes along.”

And Kerrigan believes the advantage of having the final on home soil with a large support behind them could be pivotal.

“It’ll be a big advantage to have the game at Newtown Park. Our record at home is nothing short of brilliant. For the two years I’ve been here, we’ve only been beaten four or five times at home,” he said.

“We always seem to get a good support and they’ll give us a huge lift tonight.”

For Bo’ness striker Steven Hislop, his future is also uncertain as he is out of contract this summer. The 35-year-old experienced frontman, who joined the BUs in 2012, could be playing his last game in a Bo’ness shirt this evening, with several clubs all vying for his signature.

Hislop is due to sit down with McGonigal to discuss his future at the club, and Kerrigan is adamant Bo’ness would miss the player were he too to leave.

He said: “Hopefully, he is still at Bo’ness and scoring goals like he has done the past two years, but it is a bit unclear as to what he’ll be doing.”

Bo’ness have a depleted squad for tonight’s match with defenders Will Snowdon, Ross Campbell, Scott Gibb and Jamie Clark all away on holiday, while left-back Stewart Devine has a broken bone in his foot and goalkeeper Mark Peat has a groin injury.

Linlithgow Rose striker Tommy Coyne, meanwhile, is hoping to deny their rivals the double but, from a Rose perspective, says it would be a “failure” of a season if they were to end the campaign without silverware.

“I don’t think I’ve gone a season at Linlithgow without winning anything, so it would be deemed as failure if we don’t win anything.

“The boys are confident that we can go there and get the result that we need,” he said.

“It would be perfect to end the season with some silverware considering the up-and-down season we’ve had. It would be nice to sign off with a win and it would make it more sweeter given it’s against our local rivals.”

Defender Billy Gibson is Linlithgow’s only doubt for tonight’s match. The centre-back limped off with a calf injury in the first half of last weekend’s match and hasn’t trained this week.