Rose were unable to replicate the passion and energy they had shown in the previous weekend’s Scottish Cup defeat by Ross County and found themselves 3-0 down at the break after goals from Bryan Boyland, Tom Maitland and Dean Agnew.
The Prestonfield side gave themselves a glimmer of hope in the 53rd minute when Kevin Kelbie pulled a goal back but they were unable to make any further inroads into the deficit. With five minutes remaining, their fate was sealed when Ross Stewart scored a fourth for the Buffs.
Rose boss Davie McGlynn wasn’t surprised at the result. He said: “Something had to give. We’ve had long bus trips thrown at us for weeks now and the players are down on their energy levels. They can only do so much and it’s been a really tough few weeks for us.
“We’ve been to Wick twice, Forfar twice, Irvine and Dingwall. That’s a lot of travelling plus, because of the success we’ve had, every game now is a cup final for us with sides wanting our scalp. Teams want to beat us more than ever.
“I can’t blame the players because they looked out on their feet. The players need a break but we are still having long bus trips thrown at us, we’re away to St Andrews next week.
“Last week’s trip to Dingwall was a long day for us and I think the effort put in against Ross County took it’s toll on the players. The nervous energy they put in looks to have drained some of them and no wonder.
“It’s the supporters I feel for because they have travelled just as many miles as we have and they have been terrific. I hope they understand and aren’t too hard on the players. We also had Tommy Coyne injured and Connor Kelly cup tied – they are two big players for us. Kilwinning were up for the game and we couldn’t get started. We might have come back after Kevin Kelbie scored but it wasn’t to be.”
Kilwinning: Strain, Coleman, Fleeting, Kerr, Campbell, Maitland, Agnew, McGuiness, Stewart, Lewis, Boyland. Subs: Boyd, Cashmore, Cumming, Handay, Burns.
Linlithgow: Adams, Tyrrell, Baptie, McKenzie, Leiper, MacLennan, Batchelor, McGregor, Strickland, Kelbie, Weir. Subs: Shirra, Thom, Gray, Jones,