Gordon Herd’s half-time rollicking inspires Linlithgow Rose to double cup success

Linlithgow Rose cup hero and captain Gary Thom revealed a half-time changing room rollicking gave them the inspiration to turn the East of Scotland League Cup final on its head to claim a cup double.

The Prestonfield men were 2-1 down at the interval following an opening 45 minutes which saw three penalties converted, with league champions Tranent well on top. Jamie Docherty struck twice for Tranent, before Mark Stowe pulled one back.

Gordon Herd’s side fought back after the interval, however, flying out the traps to overturn the one-goal deficit as striker Alan Docherty’s composed finish and Thom’s late header secured Rose’s second cup in a week, ending eight years without silverware.

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“It’s special, it’s been a long time coming here – winning a trophy – and to get two in a week is just incredible. I am glad my family were here to watch me as well,” said Thom.

“It’s been a great season. We obviously fell short in the league, but to win two cups is tremendous, it means a lot. Last week there was a lot more pressure on us because it had been that long, but today, we came out feeling no pressure on us.”

Thom added: “We had a really poor first half by our standards. We came out flying in the second half after a rocketing from the management team at half-time, which was deserved, they overran us in the first half at times, they had more desire and that’s not like us.

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“We came out in the second half and showed what we can do to get back into the game and win it. We were dominant in the second half, but we knew what they were capable of, in the games we have played against them [this season] they have come back into the game so we needed to concentrate.”

Tranent twice came back from two goals down in each of their league encounters this campaign, so revenge was sweet for Thom.

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Linlithgow Rose

He added: “We actually said at half-time, ‘we need to do it to them today’, given the position we were in, so it was great to do it. We came close in the league, we will have a young squad with a lot of quality and have a right good go at it next year. We want to do what Tranent have done and get into the Lowland League.”

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Tranent’s Jamie Docherty, who carried the biggest threat for Calum Elliot’s side and netted two penalties inside the opening 30 minutes, was philosophical when reflecting on a long season for the Belters.

It proved to be a game too far for Tranent, who will take their spot in the Lowland League next season.

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“In the second half we just died a death a wee bit, we struggled, and they battered us to be fair,” said the 22-year-old, who has a year left on his current deal but won’t be short of suitors over the summer. “It’s been a long season and at the end of the day we achieved what we wanted to do this season.

“It’s a tough one, scoring two penalties, and coming out on the wrong side. It’s been a long, long season – it was a year ago we had a pre-season game – so it will be a well-needed break and we will go again next season.”