Bonnyrigg Rose crowned Lowland League champions as Robbie Horn hails his men

Their 26th win of an incredible campaign has finally taken them across the finishing line. Bonnyrigg Rose are the Lowland League champions and boy do they deserve it.

Bonnyrigg Rose celebrate becoming Lowland League champions. Pic: Joe Gilhooley LRPS
Bonnyrigg Rose celebrate becoming Lowland League champions. Pic: Joe Gilhooley LRPS

Sixteen points ahead of second-placed Celtic B and it's not even mid-March. The New Dundas Park outfit have been the outstanding performers in Scottish football's fifth tier. Robbie Horn's men have amassed 80 points from a possible 90 in what is a quite incredible return for the former Junior Super League powerhouses.

Saturday's 4-1 triumph over Berwick Rangers at a sun-kissed Shielfield Park, spurred on by a large and raucous travelling support, ensured a first league crown since joining the pyramid system in 2018. Having sailed to the East of Scotland Premier Division title nine months earlier, Rose's maiden campaign in the Lowland League saw them finish runners-up after the 2019/2020 season was curtailed due to the Covid pandemic. And a truncated 2020/2021 format again saw them come up just short to Kelty Hearts, who last year secured their promotion to cinch SPFL League Two courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate win over Brechin City.

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This one will feel special for Rose who, will now look to finish the season in ruthless fashion. They have four league fixtures left remaining, away trips to Dalbeattie Star, Rangers B and East Kilbride. East Stirlingshire are the final opponents to Midlothian next month.

Manager Horn, in his second spell with the club, has assembled a hugely-talented squad that is prepared to walk over broken glass for one another. There haven't been wholesale changes over the last couple of years, just the odd addition here and there.

"The players deserve great credit and the guys who have come in have integrated really well into the squad," Horn said. "It's a great group of boys and people want to be a part of that group. The atmosphere they've created in the changing room is brilliant so I'm just absolutely delighted for them

"I've had a lot of texts and messages in the last few weeks saying well done but obviously feels right now that we've finally done it.

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The last couple of seasons have been really difficult with Covid going about and we've felt we've had opportunities, but it just wasn't to be.

"I think we've put pressure on ourselves to be honest because we've wanted to be up there challenging and ultimately win the league. I can't thank the supporters enough who made the journey down to Berwick on Saturday, they were absolutely magnificent."

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As the dust settles this week, it would be unrealistic for those connected with the club not to be keeping close tabs on what is happening up north. Rose will have to negotiate a two-legged play-off against the winners of the Highland League if they are to earn a straight shootout for promotion against the team who finishes bottom of League Two, currently Cowdenbeath.

Fraserburgh are in pole position to meet Rose but are just a point better off than Buckie Thistle and Brechin with Brora Rangers a further two points back. There are sure to be a few twists and turns over the next few weeks as their season draws to a climax.

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Rose will hope to retain the momentum that has seen them head and shoulders above the rest. If they can, League Two football next season is a real possibility.