Veteran manager Jimmy Crease couldn’t refuse Linlithgow Rose’s advances when they came calling in their hour of need.
Their former player and manager was placed in caretaker charge of the club last week alongside former Newtongrange Star boss Alan Miller and the duo put their first point on the board as they bid to stave off relegation, with a 2-2 draw with drop rivals Musselburgh.
Crease, 67, who first managed the club for a spell in the 90s, ultimately felt it was two points dropped as Ewan Ralton’s late wonder goal salvaged a point for the hosts as Rose remained second bottom.
“Over the piece I thought we were the better team,” said Crease. “We were a bit unfortunate I thought to hit the inside of the post and the ball to bounce out. We are disappointed not to take the three points but if you said before the game we’d get the one with the situation we are in at the moment, you would’ve taken it.
“We’ve got phases in the games when we look really good and we’re solid and dependable, but it was the same against Hill of Beath the other night, we didn’t start the second half so well. We didn’t do that at the start of the game, although we grew into it more.
“We’ve got a number of games left. We’ve got Fauldhouse on Monday night and I’m not putting anybody under any pressure or being disrespectful but we should be able to take care of Fauldhouse. Then we’ve got the big derby with Bo’ness on Saturday, that will take care of itself hopefully.”
With seven games remaining to preserve their Super League status, starting tonight at home to Fauldhouse United, Crease is confident they can turn things around. He couldn’t face being the first manager in charge of the club to take them down.
He continued: “Alan and myself have come in and what we’ve inherited is what we’ve got, we can’t change anything at this stage.
“Everybody is making a contribution and we’re just trying to get the guys up for it again. They’ve had a bit of a pounding from a lot of areas – the supporters and the media. Linlithgow Rose is a big name in football and the standards have dropped a wee bit so it is up to us to try and give the guys a bit of belief in themselves again. All we can do is work away and try and get enough points on the board.
“The situation with myself is I’ll be away at the end of the season no matter what. I’ve just come in to try and steady the ship a wee bit and I’ve brought Alan in with me. It’ll be up to the committee to decide what Alan’s future is.
“We’re just trying to steer the club in the right way and trying to use the wee bit experience that we’ve got. We’ve had a good response from the players, there is plenty effort there, we are not lacking that.
“If it hadn’t been Linlithgow Rose, I wouldn’t have gone back to any other club to help them out. Hopefully we can save them from relegation, I wouldn’t want to be the man to take them down.”
Rose went ahead on the half hour mark after a scrappy opening to the match. Blair Batchelor flicked on Tommy Coyne’s pass to left-back Reece Donaldson who sent a sumptuous volley in at the near post from just inside the area.
The hosts were behind for just six minutes, however. Sean Murphy was tireless in dispossessing Sean Muhsin who tried to steer the ball out of play and the ball landed at the feet of Declan O’Kane who stepped inside and coolly slotted past Darren Hill via the inside of the post.
Rose began the second half on top and regained their advantage after just three minutes had elapsed. Jack Beaumont sent a cute ball over the home defence and Coyne, who beat the offside trap, volleyed past Kieron Renton.
Batchelor and Coyne passed up chances to put the game out of sight for the visitors, and with eight minutes remaining they were punished as substitute Ralton, making a comeback from injury, sent a stunner across goal and into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Musselburgh Athletic: Renton, Lynch, Hogg, O’Kane, Murphy, Cherrie, Murray, McManus, King, Moffat (Donaldson), Thomson (Ralton).
Linlithgow Rose: Hill, Thom, Donaldson, Beaumont (Williams), McKenzie, Leiper, Gray (McNab), Muhsin, Kelbie, Coyne, Batchelor.