Sitting crocked on the sidelines having just made the move to Bonnyrigg Rose last September was all made worth it for striker Keith Lough on Wednesday night.
The 30-year-old’s header minutes from the end which secured a point in a 1-1 draw with Sauchie effectively clinched the Super League title for the New Dundas Park men, with their goal difference over second-place Linlithgow Rose almost certainly unassailable.
That feeling of euphoria was mixed with relief for Lough, who made the switch from Penicuik Athletic last year, given the torrid time he’s had with injury. And, coupled with the goalscoring exploits of his team-mates, he has found game time hard to come by under Rose manager David White.
“I’ve not really managed to make my stamp on a starting place but getting that goal on Wednesday has not proven a point because I don’t think I’ve got a point to prove, but it’s maybe a statement of intent to say I’ve still got goals in me, especially in big games,” said Lough, once of Detroit City in the USA.
“I’ve had to bide my time due to injuries and with the other strikers being on fire. To be fair to them, they’ve all been flying the last couple of months. I’ve not been able to go up to the gaffer and say ‘Why am I not getting a shot?’ because they’ve been scoring so many goals. Obviously, I’m disappointed that I’ve not been given so much of a chance, but you look at the games we’ve played and Keiran [McGachie] and Kyle [Wilson] especially, have scored two or three of the goals in every game that we’ve played in the last month or so.
“I’ve just had to produce when I’ve been given an opportunity. I was injured for a month when I first joined Bonnyrigg and then at the start of the year for another six weeks. I think that’s obviously been in the back of the mind of the gaffer; he’s probably been reluctant to play me too much because he might think with it being reoccurring that it could come back at any given chance.”
Rose will be crowned champions tomorrow at Hill of Beath should they secure the point required to get them over the line in their final league match, before moving on to pastures new with a switch to the East of Scotland League from next season.
Victory on Wednesday night would have seen them presented with the title but it wasn’t to be – the point making Rose feel like they have done enough even though it’s not yet official.
Lough continued: “It was a weird atmosphere. We know that Lithgae aren’t going to score 30-odd goals in their three games and we’re probably more than likely not going to drop any points on Saturday. It was kind of disappointing that we hadn’t done it on the night and a little bit of elation that we’d got a point, but there was no celebrations because we never got the trophy. We will save that for Saturday.
“We should have won it in style, but Sauchie gave us a good game and we never took our chances when we needed to take them.
“All eyes are on Saturday now, getting the trophy and then we can concentrate on the cup on Monday [Fife and Lothians semi-final at home to Linlithgow].”
Attention will then soon turn to next season, Lough is signed up for the new venture along with the bulk of the current squad and, with the winning mentality which is enshrined in this Bonnyrigg crop, they will be confident of instant success.
He added: “I think a lot of people thought it might be a step backwards with the intention of going up fairly quickly, but when you look at the teams moving across it is not going to be as easy as you think.
“The Junior clubs moving across will probably strengthen the league. But you could potentially be in a play-off in two years time to get into League Two – that’s really exciting.”