Bo’ness face Super League title holders Bonnyrigg in the toughest test since manager Alan McGonigal returned to the post following Paul Ronald’s departure last month.
Bo’ness were the previous Super League champions, winning the title two years on the bounce so this game has all the ingredients for a feast of football. Matches between these sides have provided some excellent entertainment over the years for the supporters and tomorrow’s game promises much of the same. Following on from a terrific victory at St Andrews last week, Alan McGonigal is looking for another win but expecting a lot tougher game.
“It’s not often that Bo’ness go into a home game as underdogs but on this occasion I think it’s right. Bonnyrigg have been good this season, especially in the William Hill Scottish Cup, and they come as favourites for the points. They won the title last season and we relish the chance to show what we can do this year.”
Bo’ness are in second place in the league going into the game with ten points from five matches, while Bonnyrigg are in fourth spot with seven points from four games, so a win for Bonnyrigg would only give them level pegging.
The main worry for both sides is the gap developing at the top between Bo’ness and Linlithgow – a worrying five points so early in the season. They are undefeated and could have the Super League won by January, which is one of the reasons why there is re-organisation at the end of this season.
“To be the champions you have to beat the champions and that’s what want on Saturday,” added McGonigal. “Since I came back all we did was set the players targets and an amount of discipline for themselves, and its working. The players deserve all the credit for what’s happening on the pitch. If something isn’t broken then don’t fix it.
“It’s on the field that things are happening. The work ethic has been fantastic since I came back. Players like Stevie Hyslop and Nicky Walker are banging goals in and they are loving it. When you’re winning you’re walking on air and that’s happening just now.
“Walker’s got four goals and Hyslop seven, and that’s good in anyone’s language. We have Jamie Hay and Stewart Hunter doubtful for the game with Ian Nimmo asking for a transfer. We said to him he can go when we get a replacement and he’s happy with that. We are looking to have someone in from the seniors for Saturday. It’s a game we know will be tough but its one the squad are looking forward to.”
For Bonnyrigg boss Max Christie, it’s another huge game in a season of huge encounters for his side already this year. They had the luxury of a free weekend last week with Sean Grady and Alex King on international duty with the Scotland squad; a break which gives the rest of the players some time to relax and get their breath back.
Christie said: “They’ve had a string of good results since Alan came back and that’s a worry. We lost at Bo’ness last season and know how difficult a place it is to get a result. Hyslop and Walker were players who looked to have lost their way but have bounced back with goals everywhere.
“The season so far has been frantic with Scottish Cup ties, Super League games and the Scottish Junior cup all coming along at the same time. At least we had a two-week break, giving us time to get players fit.
“Andy Carlin is back fit but Stephen Thomson is out with a double fracture of his jaw. We have Brechin City in the William Hill in a couple of week’s time but we have to put that game to the back of our minds. We must concentrate on business at hand and that starts on Saturday against Bo’ness.”