Bonnyrigg Rose frontman Keith Lough hopes to strike a psychological blow to former club Penicuik Athletic’s Super League title bid in their festive Midlothian derby clash at New Dundas Park tomorrow.
Lough moved across the county in a surprise switch back in September with Bonnyrigg striker Sean Jamieson transferring in the opposite direction in a swap deal. Both will be eager to impress against their former clubs with the sole aim of closing the gap on league leaders Linlithgow Rose to two points.
Both clubs go into the match having not played since the beginning of December due to the winter weather – which has been particularly frustrating for Lough who was just getting himself back to full fitness in a Rose shirt following a niggling calf injury.
“I’m enjoying it, it’s been a good challenge since I joined,” said Lough. “It’s been quite tough not having a game for a few weeks, but what can you do in the winter? We’ve played a couple of friendlies in the last weeks and other than that we’ve just been training. For myself, I’m still trying to get fully up to match fitness.
“When I joined I was injured and then I came back to my first training session and I got injured again. We just took it really slow from there and built it back up. The gaffer [David White] has been good. He’s not rushed me with my history in the last eight or nine months of being pushed back in too quick.
“I had come off the back of playing 90 minutes against Stoneyburn in the cup and then, after that, we had two games called off, so it’s been quite frustrating that it’s been stop start.”
Lough has yet to score competitively for David White’s side since making the switch from their local rivals, albeit he did net in a friendly organised against Lowland League outfit Spartans. The 29-year-old hopes he’s done enough to merit a start against Penicuik, where he spent three years after joining from Vale of Leithen.
Lough continued: “I had a tough decision to make given how things had changed at Penicuik – we had a decent season last year although it ended quite badly. This season we had started pretty well, albeit me getting these niggling injuries. It was definitely an opportunity for me; something to look ahead to and be challenging.
“You always look at the Super League and over the past five years or so, Bonnyrigg have always been up there. If you’re not challenging yourself, you aren’t really wanting to play Junior football. The history of the club was definitely something I thought about – maybe I could make my mark and do something.
“Hopefully I’ve done enough to get my foot in the door for a game. I’ve trained against the boys for the past couple of years so they’ll know me and I know them, but who knows what comes out of it. I’ll probably give Lewy Barr a wee shout and ask him if he’s ready – although I’ll tell him that I’ll pick up his first touch.
“It’ll take us back into touching distance with Linlithgow if we get the win. We don’t want them to run away with points, so it would be good to stay in touch with them. If we beat Penicuik it would maybe put a wee bit of ground between us, maybe not so much points, but psychologically.”
Penicuik coach Davie Lees admits he’d have preferred to go into the match with a good run of games behind them, he said:
“It’s not ideal going into a big game like this without a run of games, but we just have to get on with it. It’s the same for Bonnyrigg, they’ve not been getting games either. These are the games that you look forward to so the players will all be up for it. The game earlier in the season at Penicuik was excellent. If we can get a game like that, the fans will be happy.”