LINLITHGOW boss Mark Bradley is braced for a tricky Scottish Junior Cup third-round tie at home to Shotts Bon Accord tomorrow.
The two sides met at the semi-final stage last season, with Rose running out 4-2 winners over the two legs before losing to Auchinleck Talbot in the final. Shotts, who won the cup in 2012, were going through a difficult time last term and ended up being relegated from the West Super League.
However, they have made several changes to their team and management since the semi-final in April and now look to be heading in the right direction, having won eight of their ten games to sit just a point off the top of the West of Scotland Super League First Division.
“We saw what happened to Shotts last season and it wasn’t nice, with their manager and assistants having problems,” said Bradley. “They were relegated, but regrouped and are back just as strong as before.
“We have had them watched and they still have some of the players who won the cup for them against Auchinleck a couple of seasons ago. Shotts will come to Prestonfield feeling they should have done better last season, so it’s up to us to show why we made the final. If we concentrate on doing what we do and do it well, then we should get the result we want.”
After failing to set the heather alight early in the campaign, Linlithgow are gradually getting back to last season’s form.
Bradley has had to contend with a string of serious injuries, with John Ovenstone and Stuart McArthur undergoing surgery.
Jamie McKenzie missed the early part of the season while on holiday and Ruari MacLennan is only now getting over a groin strain. Despite these difficulties, they have still only lost one game this season – against Highland League side Deveronvale in the William Hill Scottish Cup after a replay. He said: “We’re starting to get back the form we showed last season, and last Saturday was a good example when we played against a good Carnoustie side with ten men for 70 minutes and showed a lot of grit and determination to win that game.”