A call to make an early return to pre-season training would normally be met with more than a little resistance but, insisted Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley, his players were delighted to do so given the chance to face Hibs.
Former Hearts player Bradley jumped at the offer to host the Easter Road side in their first pre-season friendly, even though he’s well aware his opposite number Neil Lennon will approach tomorrow’s match at Prestonfield as he would any other game.
“It was a no-brainer,” insisted Bradley. “I have quite a young team and even for our more experienced players it’s going to be a terrific game.”
The fixture was initiated by Hibs’ head of football operations George Craig as the countdown to the Capital club’s Europa League ties with NSI Runavik begins, with further matches against Berwick Rangers and English Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers to follow.
Bradley said: “Our season only finished in the first week of June and the boys weren’t due back until July 7. They’ve had a couple of weeks off, but have been back in getting ready for this game. It’s a bit early for us, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“We’re delighted that Neil has felt we’d be suitable opposition as they gear up for their Europa League matches and when the club mentioned it to me I said, ‘let’s go for it’.
“If I was still playing I’d be desperate to play in a game like that with Hibs, potentially the second best team in the Premiership, bringing their first-team squad.
“Neil is a winner, he’s played at the top level and I know he’ll be expecting his players to treat this game as they would any other. We are constantly trying to improve and while we are obviously not expected to win, I believe my players will all take something from what will be a great experience with Hibs having been given 1500 tickets.
“One of our boys, Jamie McKenzie, was on Hibs’ books as a youngster so he’ll be keen to play while, from my point-of-view, it will be good to catch up with Grant Murray who I’ve known since we were kids at Hearts together, while I played with Eddie May at Berwick Rangers.”