Bonnyrigg Rose celebrate historic promotion to SPFL after seeing off Cowdenbeath
The Midlothian side who had played for most of their existence in the juniors until only four years ago will now be playing SPFL League 2 football next season for the first time after a 1-0 win at Central Park sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory over Cowdenbeath in the pyramid play-off final.
Some still remember the open top bus tours in the Midlothian town that followed the Scottish Junior Cup triumphs in 1966 and 1978. Perhaps another one should be arranged after this monumental achievement for the Lowland League champions. Manager Robbie Horn and his squad would deserve it after an incredible season which has been several years in the making.
Neil Martynuick’s penalty in the 61st minute after Ross Gray was tripped in the box put the tie beyond any doubt. Not that there was much of it after the commanding 3-0 first leg lead Rose had established at New Dundas Park last week.
Cowdenbeath shaved the post and the bar in a scrappy first half, but the visitors had a couple of decent half-chances too and were relatively comfortable. Game management has been a trademark of Horn’s team over the last few years and the experience in his squad mean there was never any danger of nerves or complacency.
Bonnyrigg brought a huge travelling support, probably outnumbering the home fans in the 2,117 crowd and gave their team vociferous backing throughout. Horn himself can take a lot of the credit for that. With the support of chairman Charlie Kirkwood and treasurer Brendan Parkinson, he has helped galvanise and inspire not just his team but the whole community.
“I’m over the moon for the players first and foremost,” said Horn, who has created and maintained the type of team spirit and winning mentality that other managers must envy. “I’m delighted for the supporters who have turned out in their numbers again.
"Committee members as well have put so much of their life into Bonnyrigg Rose. It’s a special days for the coaches as well. These are memories of a lifetime, but the success has been built over a number years.
"We’ve had a winning mentality and everybody has bought into it over that period of time. The players have created something special in that changing room and when new players come in they get welcomed and buy into it right away. I can’t credit the players enough. If I was a player, I’d want to be in that changing room.
“It’s nothing special. We don’t work on shape or things like that at training. The boys just know their roles. They’ve done it long enough. The togetherness and team spirit is just incredible.
"Some of the players have been offered more money to go elsewhere, but they don’t want to leave. It’s the togetherness in the changing room. But it is also the coaching staff, committee members and supporters. There’s a good connection between everybody.”
One supporters’ banner seen at all Rose games has words which sum up perfectly how everyone connected to Bonnyrigg Rose must feel tonight. “This love will last forever”.
Cowdenbeath: Gill, Thomson, Denham, Barr, Mullen, Ferguson, Morrison, Todd, Barrowman (Buchanan 53), Ompreon, Barr (Coulson 60). Subs not used: Dunn, Miller, Carty, Moore, McDowall.
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic: Weir, Brett (Turner 75), Young, Horne, Martyniuk, Connolly, Stewart (S Gray 75), Currie, Barrett, Brown (Hall 68), Gray (Hunter 68). Subs not used: Evans, Wilson, Andrews.
Referee: David Munro