Linlithgow match secretary Jim Harkins was left fuming by the actions of those claiming to support the Junior side, vowing to take action to ensure they never set foot in their ground again.
“They should get the jail, they should get the jail for that – no doubt about that. These people are not here for football, they are only here to cause trouble,” he said.
The club’s fourth round replay away to Forfar Athletic was abandoned after floodlight failure at Station Park last night.
Referee Stephen Finnie took both sets of players off the pitch after just six minutes of the cup tie, with a floodlight failing just as Forfar were about to take a corner. This followed after the match was delayed for several minutes after a flare was thrown onto the pitch from a section of Rose supporters just before kick-off.
After Finnie halted the match, the players didn’t reappear from their dressingrooms onto the synthetic surface again, with the referee making the decision to abandon the match 25 minutes later after the club’s electrician identified a major issue which couldn’t be solved.
By that time, the terracing across from the main stand had fallen into complete darkness, with a youthful batch of Linlithgow supporters taking it upon themselves to light another pyrotechnic device before one youngster proceeded to run onto the pitch with another before he was rugby tackled to the ground by several stewards.
Mr Harkins said: “My major concern is not about the floodlights, but the fools that attended the game, they are not Linlithgow Rose supporters at all, they are only troublemakers that are trying to cause trouble for the club. “If I get the name of them, they will never ever set foot in Prestonfield again, ever.
“We’re actually staggered what has happened here, away from the floodlight issue. We just cannot understand how this came about here; it’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace.
“The club are livid about what has happened here. It’s an absolute embarrassment. We will eventually find out who they are, but we’ll probably find out that they’ve never ever set foot in Prestonfield in the first place.”
A section of the Station Park pitch was left charred as a result of the actions of one supporter and Linlithgow could be set to face repercussions from the SFA.
“The compliance people will be involved in this and we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it,” continued Harkins. “I just wonder how do you stop it, when you’ve got people here that you don’t know who they even are. For some reason we’ve had people that wouldn’t cause trouble being searched on the way in. How did they manage to get smoke bombs into the ground? It’s shocking, it really is shocking.
“I was speaking to the police before we came up here and I was assuring them that there is never any trouble with Linlithgow Rose and then you get landed with that.”
Incidentally, the floodlights came back on just ten minutes after referee Finnie had taken the decision to abandon the match, but with the crowd having already been informed over the tannoy and the risk of them failing once more, there was no going back.
Finnie said: “By the time we had made the decision the electrician had identified what the fault was but he didn’t know how we was going to fix it. He had identified a major problem but there was no resolution as the ground was in darkness at the time.”
Linlithgow Rose have clocked up more than 1600 miles in their journey to the fourth round, with trips to the Borders, Inverness, Wick and Forfar. Their third round tie against Wick Academy turned into a complete debacle after the match was postponed five times – the first having been just thirty minutes before kick-off.