Linlithgow Rose assistant boss John Millar explains why this was a good year to miss out on East of Scotland League title

Despite missing out on the title and potential promotion, Linlithgow Rose assistant boss John Millar is taking plenty of positives from this season’s third-place finish in the East of Scotland Premier Division. He reckons it was a good year to miss out on the title.

Tranent clinched the title ahead of Penicuik Athletic and now face St Cuthbert Wanderers and big-spending Darvel in a three-way play-off for one promotion slot to the Lowland League.

“To be frank I’m not sure if this was the season to go for promotion,” said Millar. "Because I don’t think anyone beats Darvel. I think Darvel will dominate the play-offs then probably go on to win the Lowland League next year.”

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"This has been a very good season for many of our guys. I think we brought in 11 new players. It’s been a season of great growth and the guys have really stepped up to the mark.

Mark Stowe has scored 41 goals for Linlithgow Rose this season

“The likes of Callum Bremner, Connor McMullan, Liam Allison who’s just come back after 16 months out, Jamie Allan coming in and being exceptional in midfield, Sean Heaver coming in from Stirling Albion who scored a number of goals and a lot of quality goals as well.

"It’s been a coming of age season for the squad because I think we’ve got something like 12 players under-23. Sometimes with youthful comes a little bit of inconsistency and we saw that towards the end of the season.

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"But the experiences the boys have gone through will stand them in really good stead for next season. If we can add the four or five we need for next year I think we’re going to be exceptionally strong.”

Rose are in League Cup second round at home to Kirkcaldy and Dysart tonight (7.30pm) and also have the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final against Gala Fairydean Rovers to look forward to at Penicuik on Sunday, May 29, with kick-off at 2pm.

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"There is excitement in terms of the cup final coming up,” Millar said. "It’s an opportunity to win silverware for the first time in eight years which is quite incredible for Linlithgow Rose.

"There’s a chance to do a cup double. Hopefully the minimum is a single cup and that would be a great achievement considering when we came in we effectively had to build a brand new squad.”