Bonnyrigg Rose manager David McGlynn believes the strength of the four remaining Midlothian and East Lothian clubs in the Scottish Junior Cup can see them all progress to the last-16.
Newtongrange Star, Penicuik Athletic and Musselburgh are all in fourth round action tomorrow and along with his side, McGlynn is predicting that the quartet will make it through to the fifth round.
“I think the four teams in Midlothian and East Lothian will all qualify”, he said. “Newtongrange, Penicuik, Bonnyrigg and Musselburgh should hopefully all make it and it would be a great achievement for them.
“We’re not the biggest junior clubs in the world. Penicuik just came up, Newtongrange only came up the year before and did great last year, while Musselburgh have been continually building and continually getting better.
“The Super League is in good strength with the Midlothian and East Lothian teams. It gets crowds out and people coming to see us, especially with a big possibility that if the four of us go through, we could be drawn against one another.”
Bonnyrigg take on Central District First Division side Bellshill Athletic at New Dundas Park after last week’s match and the other 15 scheduled ties were forced off due to the weather.
McGlynn is hopeful the game will get the go ahead, with preparations having been in place since early this week to ensure the pitch passes a pitch inspection tomorrow morning. Although he felt the game could probably have gone ahead last week, the decision on the postponement was taken before Bellshill made the trip along the M8.
He said: “They wanted an earlier pitch inspection as they said they had to leave at 10 o’clock and we probably feel that if we left it until later it would’ve been fine. We trained on the pitch at 12.30pm and it was fine. It was hard in places, but if we’d left it, it would’ve gone ahead.
“We’ve got covers down now and the full pitch is covered, so with a bit of luck it will be on.”
McGlynn has done his homework on their opponents, who sit top of their league and are unbeaten in their 11 league matches so far this season. While the home side will be favourites to win, McGlynn expects his players to put on a professional performance to ensure they’re in the hat for the next round.
He said: “It’s not just going to be a turn-up-and-win job. We’ll prepare properly and make sure we’re ready for the task ahead. We’ve done our homework and we now need to make sure we put on a performance.
“I think lower divisions in the west are slightly better than what ours are. Obviously Haddington are doing great in our bottom division and they’ll go up, but I think the lower leagues are slightly stronger through there.
“You want a home game. It doesn’t matter who you get – if you get a home tie you’re quite happy. It could have been a lot worse, so we’ve just got to make sure we are professional, make sure we are switched on to the job in hand and make sure we come out with a result.”
Striker Blair Henderson, meanwhile, has left the club to join League Two Berwick Rangers. Henderson was one of McGlynn’s first signings as Bonnyrigg boss back in September, but he was never going to stand in the player’s way once a senior club came calling.
Henderson, who had spells on trial at Hearts and Hibs in recent times, caught the eye of former Jambo midfielder Colin Cameron when the two sides faced each other in a friendly last month.
“Blair had been doing great and he deserved a wee shot at it,” said McGlynn. “We always had an agreement in place with Blair about him to having another go [at senior] and I said I would try my best to do that.
“With him coming down and playing a run of games, he scored eight goals in about 12 games. It has given him the chance to go back upstairs. There are a lot of boys who need to do that instead of hanging about the Third Division and sitting on a bench – they need to come and play games and get themselves back in the window.”