Bo'ness United boss Max Christie reveals extent of his injury crisis

Bo’ness United manager Max Christie reckons the club’s current injury crisis is the worst he’s ever known in his 11 years as a manager.

Christie, 50, who has been in charge at Newtown Park since 2019 having previously managed Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Broxburn Athletic and Tranent Juniors, saw the BUs defeated 6-0 at home by East Kilbride on Saturday before crashing 4-0 at Civil Service Strollers on Tuesday night.

A quickfire trio of Lowland Football League matches for United over the past few days had also included a 2-2 draw at East Stirlingshire last Wednesday night.

"We’ve got nine players out – eight injuries and one with Covid – and for the last three games we’ve had no subs,” said Christie, whose team face Spartans at Ainslie Park on Saturday. “And we’re asking young boys to continually perform with no rest when playing midweek.

Andy Murphy collects the ball in a crowed box against East Kilbride

"What’s happened to us I’ve never seen before. We’ve got a big enough squad but to have nine boys out on Tuesday night, we can’t cope with that. But we’ve got to keep going.”

Tuesday’s loss at Strollers featured a nightmare start for Bo’ness as defender Michael Gemmell was shown a straight red card after just two minutes.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Bo’ness conceded a further three goals in a second half which also saw the BUs’ Lewis Hawkins sent off for a last man foul after 71 minutes before a Strollers player also got his marching orders four minutes later after receiving a second yellow card for handball.

"Michael landed on the boy and it’s been construed as a stamp,” Christie added. “But it wasn’t a stamp. There was no malice in it at all. He’s got to land somewhere and unfortunately he landed on the Civil player.

Kyle Wilson looks to hold onto the ball with two East Kilbride players in close attention. Pictures: Scott Louden

"It was in the middle of the park and there was massive hysteria from Strollers players. They were all shouting and screaming and next minute the ref’s got the red card out. The guy was rolling about, the referee has sent Michael off and he's just gone off shaking his head.

"The ref’s then gone on to book nine of our players and send another one off, plus book eight of their players and send one of theirs off. And there was hardly a tackle in the game. I thought the referee lost control of the game a wee bit and there was no consistency in his decision making at all.

"Both coaching staffs were just shaking their heads at times about what the latest foul was for. Every other foul was a booking, it was just crazy.”

Bo’ness, 12th in the standings with 36 points from 31 games, have both Gemmell and Hawkins suspended for the trip to Spartans although Christie expects “two or three” to return from injury.

He added: "It’s important that we stay together. Football’s not easy at times and it’s at times like this that we need to keep punching, stay together and show a bit of character.

"We’ve got a massive job to do in the summer. It’s our first year in the Lowland League and we’ve got a lot of recruitment to do.

"We’re working hard now to add to what we’ve got so we’re going to have a team that’s competing at the top end of the league. That’s the job and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure we’ve got that.”

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