Bonnyrigg Rose take giant step towards League 2 by securing pyramid play-off place

Bonnyrigg Rose manager Robbie Horn made sure there was no big post-match celebration. The job is not yet done, but this was a giant step.

Kieran McGachie celebrates scoring Bonnyrigg's fifth goal, shortly after coming off the bench. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS
Kieran McGachie celebrates scoring Bonnyrigg's fifth goal, shortly after coming off the bench. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS

There can be no shying away from the significance of his team’s emphatic 5-0 victory over Cumbernauld Colts, which secured a pyramid play-off with the Highland League champions and a shot at promotion to the SPFL.

By far the best supported team in the Lowland League, 778 fans crammed into New Dundas Park to watch Horn’s team move ever closer to a potential place in League 2.

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The victory extended their lead at the top of the Lowland League table to an incredible 13 points and means that only Rangers B or Celtic B can catch the Midlothian team mathematically.

Callum Connolly heads home the fourth goal for Bonnyrigg Rose in the 5-0 victory over Cumbernauld Colts at new Dundas Park. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS

The Old Firm colts sides, of course, are ineligible for promotion. That means Bonnyrigg can in theory start thinking about who they might face from the Highland League in a two-legged pyramid play-off next month. Buckie, Brora, Brechin and Fraserburgh are all in the mix.

Get through that and they will take on the team who finish bottom of League 2 – probably Cowdenbeath. That’s another two-legged tie, but if Bonnyrigg can also negotiate that one they’ll be playing in SPFL League 2 next season.

Horn refuses to look that far ahead. He is having none of it. Determined to ensure that his team focus on one step at a time, the next goal he has set for his players is winning the league.

Three more points are needed to achieve that and, after the Old Firm B teams facing each other this weekend, Rose will have the chance to wrap up the title a week on Saturday away to Horn’s former club, Berwick Rangers.

They have now racked up 25 wins from 29 league games. Cumbernauld were 49 points worse off than Bonnyrigg going into this one, but the weight of expectation in front of a huge crowd didn’t faze the Rose players. There was no hesitation, no nerves.

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Bonnyrigg have been relentless all season. Solid at the back, experienced and well drilled, they are experts at getting the job done and in that respect this match was no different. Headers from Kerr Young and Sean Brown – his first goal for the club – established a two-goal cushion at half-time.

A minute into the second half, Brown scrambled home his second from a rebound and it was game over.

The striker, acquired only recently on loan from East Fife, had a chance to bag his hat-trick when Ross Gray was fouled in the box, but skied his penalty kick over the bar.

But it was already 4-0 by then, Callum Connolly having powered home a header from Lee Currie’s corner.

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On the hour Cumbernauld had Dylan Forrest sent off for a wild lunge on Brown and Horn was then able to bring on his subs and rest weary legs for the challenges that lie ahead.

One of them, popular powerhouse striker Kieran McGachie, dinked home with almost his first touch to make it 5-0 after just 56 minutes.

There was still plenty of time for more, but Rose were able to relax. Job done. For now.

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