Linlithgow Rose president blasts Conference League plan and relegation issue

Gordon Herd (centre) could be playing in the Lowland League next season (Pic: Alan Murrray)Gordon Herd (centre) could be playing in the Lowland League next season (Pic: Alan Murrray)
Gordon Herd (centre) could be playing in the Lowland League next season (Pic: Alan Murrray)
East of Scotland Premier Division champions Linlithgow Rose could be automatically promoted to the Lowland League in time for next season.

Rose secured their first league title in ten years and they will avoid having to take part in a play-off with the West of Scotland League champions and South of Scotland League winners if they are the only SFA-licensed club in the mix. Beith claimed the West of Scotland crown over the weekend, but they are unlicensed so no representative from that league will compete in the round-robin play-off.

In the South of Scotland League, Abbey Vale and Creetown are both level at the top of the table with two matches remaining. Only Creetown are licensed, so were Abbey Vale to end on top spot – who have a superior goal difference – Rose wouldn’t require a play-off to gain promotion.

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Meanwhile, Rose president Jon Mahoney has described SFA plans to create a new fifth tier – the Scottish Conference League – as not being good for the whole of Scottish football. A new ten-team proposal is on the table for the start of season 2024/25 which would include four B teams comprising of Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts and Rangers, alongside four Lowland and two Highland League sides.

Should the plans be passed through at the SFA’s AGM in June it would effectively relegate all clubs below the new league down a further tier.

“There is some really strange thinking going on in Scottish football just now,” said Mahoney. “I get that there needs to be a B team solution, but they really need to think harder about it. Ripping up the entire pyramid to shoehorn B teams in somewhere isn’t good for the entirety of Scottish football.

“To have a 19-team league above you [the Lowland League], I get that three of them can’t get relegated, but to have just one coming down from 16 teams is just really disheartening for the pyramid. I get why they are doing it, because there is a blockage at the top, but everyone adopts the worst practice then that blocks the whole of Scottish football.”