THEY may have lost on the pitch, but Bonnyrigg Rose have won a massive boost from their Scottish Cup clash with Hibs at the weekend.
Despite being defeated 8-1 in the fourth-round match at Tynecastle on Saturday, the Midlothian side will reap a big financial benefit from the occasion, as well as a massively increased profile.
And the club is already looking at using some of the cash windfall from the game – expected to run to tens of thousands of pounds – to finance possible improvements to its ground.
Club secretary Robert Dickson said: “I’m obviously disappointed at the result, but it has been a fantastic journey for the football team and for everyone involved. I’m disappointed and excited at the same time.”
Bonnyrigg Rose normally plays in front of crowds of 150-200, but almost 5000 supporters were there for the game against Hibs.
Mr Dickson said: “We had great support on Saturday – the turnout was absolutely amazing. It has been a fantastic experience – the build-up, selling tickets and so on, it was a great learning curve.
“The TV footage has been fantastic. It has put us even more on the map.
“And let’s hope that some of the people that were there on Saturday will come back and support us every week, which would be great.”
He said details of exactly how much the club would get from the match were still being worked out.
“We don’t know the final figures yet, but it will definitely be a help financially for the next eight to 12 months.
“Hopefully we can do certain things to the ground.
“Normally we have to go round local businesses asking for sponsorship, so this should give us a wee break from knocking on the same doors.”
Mr Dickson said he knew the team could play better than they did on Saturday.
“I don’t think they played to the best of their capability – perhaps the occasion got to them – but the players can all feel proud of what they have done for the club – and that goes for the manager and the coaching staff too.
“But that great journey has come to an end – we’ve got a big game next week in the Junior Scottish Cup, playing Kilsyth Rangers. If we do progress it takes us into the last 16, which will be another achievement. We just have to let this go and concentrate on next week.”
Superfan George Bell, who left his wife and son in the beach resort of Cabarete, Dominican Republic, to fly back for the match, said he was “a bit disappointed” at the scoreline but it had been “a great day”.
The 63-year-old retired joiner said: “It was never going to be easy – Hibs are a Premier team. We did ourselves proud and that’s enough.
“I loved it – it was a great occasion. I’ve supported Bonnyrigg Rose all my life and when I saw the tie I had to be there. We’ll never see that again.”
Mr Bell will fly back to the Dominican Republic a week today, but will still be here to go and watch next weekend’s Junior Scottish Cup match.
“Hopefully we’ll win that game,” he said.