Bonnyrigg Rose boss admits disappointment after elimination from Premier Sports Cup

Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn admits there’s a twinge of disappointment his side didn’t manage to pull off an upset and reach the latter stages of the Premier Sports Cup.

Kevin Smith opens the scoring for Bonnyrigg Rose away to Greenock Morton with a header at the back post. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS
Kevin Smith opens the scoring for Bonnyrigg Rose away to Greenock Morton with a header at the back post. Picture: Joe Gilhooley LRPS

The SPFL newboys found themselves in a difficult group with Hibs, Greenock Morton, Clyde and a full-time League One side in Falkirk. Despite this, and entering unknown territory for the first time, the Midlothian club managed to be competitive in every match, including beating Clyde in their opener and taking Falkirk to penalties.

Fellow League Two side Annan Athletic showed it’s not outwith the realms of possibility for a bottom-tier, part-time team to make it out of the groups, as they topped a division including 2021 Premier Sports Cup trophy winners St Johnstone. But Horn still insists the positives hugely outweigh any negative feelings about their League Cup campaign.

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“Absolutely there's a bit of disappointment,” he told the Evening News after the 3-1 defeat at Championship side Morton confirmed their exit. “Look at Annan. As I said to the players before the Falkirk game, there's an opportunity for us. If you can win your next two games then you can go and qualify. And then obviously what happened with Hibs in midweek opened it up a wee bit. We were reliant on results elsewhere but had we won today, you never know.

“We acquitted ourselves well in the four games. I was a bit disappointed with the goals with lost in every game, but then I supposed every manager is going to say that. There were lots of positives for me.

“Plenty of players have given me something to think about ahead of next week. I've got some big decisions to make before our first league game. It's always a good problem to have.”

Forfar Athletic will be the visitors to New Dundas Park on the weekend as League Two gets underway. The Angus club finished second in the division last term and should provide a stern test for the Rosey Posey.

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"I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it,” Horn said. “Hopefully we get a good crowd behind us to help the boys get a result. The boys had their night out at the weekend and the hard work starts on Tuesday. We need to get them ready for Saturday.

“There's lots of experienced players in that Forfar team and a good manager in Gary Irvine. It's going to be tough. I expect them to be up there at the top of the table. But we're at home and I always fancy our chances at home.”

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One topic of discussion in recent days has been the Premier Sports Cup format and the tournament beginning in early-to-mid July. Hibs boss Lee Johnson is one manager who has been outspoken in his criticism of it. Horn, while admitting it makes his job tougher, can see both sides of it.

"It's very tough for part-time teams, especially for us this year,” he said. “We only had four or five training sessions before we had to be into our pre-season games.

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“But it gives the boys an opportunity to go and play against the likes of Hibs, these full-time teams. It's been a good experience for us, we've enjoyed it. Hopefully we can look forward to it next year as well.”

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