Bonnyrigg must be at their sharpest to beat Clydebank

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MAX CHRISTIE is delighted to see his Bonnyrigg side leading the Super League title race and still in the Scottish Junior Cup.

But he’s warned his players to start setting their alarms for the first whistle rather than taking time to come out of their slumber in matches.

Christie pointed to last week’s league win over Linlithgow as the perfect example of what has become a trend for his team this season.

And he reckons they’re unlikely to get away with a slow start in tomorrow’s third-round Scottish Cup clash against West cracks Clydebank at New Dundas Park (1.45pm kick-off).

“Against Linlithgow, the game could have been over before we got started,” admitted Christie in reflecting on a 3-1 win that saw his side reclaim top spot on goal difference from Camelon.

“Linlithgow could have scored two or three goals and the game could have been over before we got our act together. It’s something that has been happening in most games this season and the players are aware we need to start better in matches.”

Bonnyrigg needed two bites at the cherry to dispatch local rivals Newtongrange in the last round. Now they face a Clydebank side sitting tenth in the West Region Super League but one that managed a draw with second-placed Ashfield last weekend.

“[Assistant manager] Stevie Ellison was at that game so we know what Clydebank are all about,” added Christie.

“There’s a school of thought that teams from the West compete better than ones from the East so that means we will certainly have to be up for this one from the off.

“We will have to match their effort and commitment throughout and, if we can do that, then hopefully we can come out on top.

“This is a massive game for us. There have been signs of encouragement for the club already in that we are sitting at the top of the league towards the end of November.But we also want to do well in the cup competitions and it would be terrific if we were still in the Scottish Cup after Christmas.” Christie has made some excellent signings since he took over the reins, the likes of Alex King and Ross Archibald in particular having done a superb job for Rose so far this season.

But the manager is also quick to acknowledge the contribution being made by a number of players he inherited from Alan Miller. “Bonnyrigg finished fourth in the Super League last season and the core of the team I took over was very strong,” admitted Christie.

“The likes of David Dunn, James Morrice, David Burrell, Sean Paliczka, Sean Grady, Kevin McLeish and Ryan McCallum are all very experienced and most of them helped Bonnyrigg win the Super League three seasons ago. We’ve added to that strong core by bringing in some more good players and things are going well for us at the moment.

“However, it’s only a fortnight ago that we lost 2-0 at home to Camelon so we are certainly not about to get carried away, we are under no illusions that we’ve still got a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

One blow on the horizon is that Rose are set to lose Jamie Ewart, who is emigrating to Australia next month.

“Jamie has been terrific since we brought him in from Berwick Rangers and it’s unfortunate that we are going to be losing him,” said Christie. “We’ve got a few options already but it could be the case that I might have to go out and find a big rugged centre half.”

Musselburgh, beaten finalists at Rugby Park last year, return to Ayrshire to face Beith tomorrow, while Haddington and Arniston are also heading west to face Troon and Stonehouse Violet respectively.

But Bo’ness, knocked out of the William Hill Scottish Cup by Cowdenbeath last Saturday, have home advantage against Saltcoats, as do Broxburn, who entertain Girvan at New Albyn Park.