Hearts legends in action as Bonnyrigg Rose captain Jonny Stewart celebrates tenth season with Midlothian club
Rose’s longest serving player joined the club when they were in the East Juniors and has been a key fixture through their meteoric rise to the fourth tier of Scottish football.
The 33-year-old has experienced multiple league and play-off triumphs – and two promotions with the Midlothian club – and has revealed what has kept him with the New Dundas Park club for so long.
“The club has been brilliant to me,” said midfielder Stewart, who started his career with Hearts. “From the moment I came in, Charlie [Kirkwood, chairman] and Brendan [Parkinson, Treasurer] have really looked after me. The manager [Robbie Horn] has played a big part in that as well, he’s been there the majority of my time and apart from maybe the first season after I signed, we have been really successful and that plays a big part in it when you are winning every week, challenging for leagues and cups, you want to be a part of that.
“The changing room is probably the best I have been involved in, in football. A lot of the guys have been there themselves now for seven or eight years and they will have testimonials coming up hopefully in the next couple of years. I have enjoyed it the last ten years, you go to training, and you work hard and have a laugh and a joke, you come away with a smile on your face. Everyone has bought into the same mentality, and we’ve been fortunate to maintain the nucleus of the squad throughout these years which has been the biggest reason why I have stayed.
“There is a right close bond between the chairman, committee, the management and the players but also the fans, it is a massive community now, it’s a big town which is growing all the time. You’ve got all the boys and girls’ teams as well and it is great to see them coming along to our games. You’ve got the Bonny Ultras these days who bang the drum and sings songs, it’s great to see. It’s only going in one direction and it’s exciting to be part of it.”
Current Rose boss Robbie Horn will take charge of a Bonnyrigg select at New Dundas Park (kick-off 1pm. Bonnyrigg fan and local lad Gary Locke will be in the opposite dugout, as he takes charge of a Hearts side including Stewart’s best friend and 2012 Scottish Cup winning legend Ryan McGowan.
Stewart, who broke his hand seven weeks ago in their Viaplay Cup match against Dumbarton, continued:
“I hope a lot of Bonnyrigg fans come along and see all the guys that have played with the club over the years; the boys that were there throughout the Junior days and the Scottish Cup runs, the promotion from the East of Scotland to the Lowland League initially, and also a few guys who won us promotion to League Two.
“From the Hearts perspective with there being no Hearts game, hopefully a few Jambos come along as well and see some of their heroes pulling on the Hearts strip again.”