Bonnyrigg Rose showed no signs of end-of-season fatigue as they crushed Carnoustie Panmure 5-0 to boost their goal difference and remain in the hunt for the Super League title.
Rose’s players are almost running on empty after a gruelling period of games with Saturday’s match their tenth so far this month. Should they beat Linlithgow Rose on Wednesday night, they’ll set up a final day winner-takes-all title decider this weekend with league leaders Kelty Hearts, who have remained on top spot all season.
Retaining their title would be an incredible achievement for a Rose squad who have clawed back a total of 16 goals on Kelty in just three games, with the Fife club now holding a better goal difference of just two.
Striker Sean Jamieson has been key in this recent period. The hitman has struck just shy of a third of Rose’s goals in their past three games as he took his tally to five on Saturday with a double, making it 23 for the season. It is some effort for a player who missed a large chunk of the season with a back injury.
“It’s been a really tough period for us,” said Jamieson. “It’s the toughest period in football I’ve had in terms of the amount of games we’ve played in a short time – it’s just crazy but, at the end of the day, it’s down to our success in the Scottish Cup [Rose reached the fourth round where they played holders Hibs] and you wouldn’t change that.
“It was a bit of a frustrating season for me early on and after Christmas but, since I’ve been back in, the injury is feeling a lot better and pretty much cleared up. I’m back involved playing and scoring goals; I’m enjoying it again.
“When you come to a new club, especially a team like Bonnyrigg when you are challenging, you want to be involved, but I was sitting watching and even when I came back it wasn’t right. It was frustrating because I couldn’t play to the potential I feel I’ve got but now I’m feeling a lot better.”
Jamieson’s two goals, both coming from the penalty spot after strike partner Keiran McGachie was twice brought down, came in a relentless second-half period as Rose bombarded the visitors after a first half in which they struggled to convert their chances.
“We struggled a bit early on,” continued Jamieson. “We had a lot of possession but couldn’t convert our chances. Getting the goal before half-time was massive. It just settled us a bit and we pushed on in the second half. The boys are running on empty but they just kept at it and the goals came in the end. It was fantastic effort.
“The fifth goal was massive. We knew we needed to win every game going into it, but it was going to come down to goals. Now, two 1-0 wins would do it for us but we need to concentrate on Wednesday first; it will be a tough game.”
Rose were largely in control during the opening period but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal. That all changed in the second half, with McGachie’s header from substitute Kerr Young’s cross on the stroke of half-time giving the hosts a lift going into the interval.
Two Jamieson penalties within an eight-minute period in the second half had the hosts 3-0 ahead, but their fourth didn’t come until the 86th minute with Young heading home Andrew Kidd’s corner kick. McGachie then struck the crucial fifth in the final minute when he drilled home inside the box following another Kidd corner.
Boss Robbie Horn hailed his players for their “unbelievable spirit” and believes if they were to retain the title this week it would be a bigger achievement than winning it in his first campaign at the helm last year.
He said: “They’re a great bunch of players and no matter what happens, I can’t believe they’ve taken it to this stage. The most important thing now is we win on Wednesday and set up the game on Saturday. Linlithgow will be really difficult with them having a new manager but, if we show the same heart and desire again, I’m confident we’ll get a result.
“It would be 100 per cent [bigger achievement to win title this season] with the amount of games we’ve had to play, the runs we had in the Scottish Cup and the Junior Cup. We could’ve lost focus after a big game against Hibs, but they’ve not, they’ve stuck together and shown unbelievable spirit and that’s what has got us to this stage.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Turner, Brett (Young), Kidd, Moyes, Horne, Jamieson, Gray, McIntosh, Nelson (Archibald), McGachie.
Carnoustie Panmure: Robbie, Cook, Taylor, Millar, Black, Steel, Scott (Gray), Roberts, MacDonald, Brown, Simpson.