Injuries have disrupted Rose's rhythm in maiden Lowland campaign

Gordon Herd says fans are yet to see the best of his Linlithgow Rose side in the Lowland League.
Gordon Herd (centre) expects his side to improve (Pic: Alan Murrray)Gordon Herd (centre) expects his side to improve (Pic: Alan Murrray)
Gordon Herd (centre) expects his side to improve (Pic: Alan Murrray)

New opponents and new surroundings are all part of the fun for the Prestonfield club after promotion from the East of Scotland set up, but injuries on the park have disrupted their rhythm resulting in a lack of consistency on the park.

Despite their injury woes, it’s been a refreshing start to life in Scottish football’s fifth tier.

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“It’s been up and down for us going into the Lowland League. Our injury problems have been horrendous, I think probably everyone in the league is the same, but we’ve had eight or nine guys out at one point,” said boss Herd.

“On Tuesday night I had 21 guys at training and that’s the most I have had all season. We were planning to run with a squad of 21 or 22 guys, but we’ve had to go over that a wee bit – we’ve got a squad of 24 now.

“I’ve not been able to pick my best eleven all season. It’s been a great test for us, but it’s been equally frustrating at the same time.”

Herd continued: “What I like about it is it is so competitive. No disrespect to the league that we have just came out of, but you would have teams sitting in playing with ten men behind the ball, showing us a bit of respect, whereas in this league nobody seems to want to show any respect as everyone wants to have a go. I love it for that fact. It’s also more tactical, it’s been really good.

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“At a club like Linlithgow, the supporters are expecting you to win every game, and that’s been my frustration, that maybe the expectation of the supporters maybe need to be calmed down a wee bit until we get settled in this league and find our feet.

“It’s been an enjoyable two or three months for us, albeit frustrating, but it’s good to be in this league.”

The addition of a sports scientist to Herd’s backroom staff this season shows the club mean business.

“We’ve brought in a sport scientist this season, Luke [Stephen], and he’s been getting a bit of stick with the injuries because he’s just came in, which is unjustified,” said Herd. We are starting to feel the effects of bringing him on, he’s been a valuable addition to the backroom team.

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“He’s been working away brilliantly with the boys in the gym, he’s been meeting with guys before training doing wee strength and conditioning sessions. We are able to bring guys back and getting to work in the gym, whereas before they would be lying dormant with their injuries.”

Rose host West of Scotland side St Peters in the third round of the South Challenge Cup tomorrow, and it’s a trophy they intend to secure.

Herd added: “This is one I am desperate to win. You always want to win every trophy, and this is one we’ve not won before.

“St Peters are a bit of an unknown quantity coming from the west. We have done our homework on them, and they are a young side. It’s just like any game, if you don’t turn up you can find yourself in a bit of trouble.”