Linlithgow Rose captain Colin Leiper revealed he has been banished to the spare room by wife Lauren since becoming a father – but it’s for his own good on a Saturday.
The couple’s first child, Perri, was born three weeks ago and Leiper has endured more than one sleepless night since her arrival – more so than last season when Linlithgow were mired in a relegation scrap.
The centre-back was given the runaround at Penicuik Park last Saturday as Rose started the season with a 3-2 loss to Penicuik Athletic. Home striker Lumbert Kateleza gave Leiper a torrid time on his debut and that was the last straw for the big stopper.
“I never slept at all last Friday night and turned up to the game and I couldn’t run and I couldn’t talk,” said Leiper.
“Their striker ran rings around me; I couldn’t get near him. That’ll not happen again, though, because I’m sleeping in the spare room now. I came home Saturday and I said to her ‘This isnae good, I cannae be up during the night when I’ve got fitba and work to go to’, so she’s said I can sleep in the spare room until the baby starts sleeping properly.”
Rose bounced back from their opening-day disappointment with a 3-1 success over Camelon on Wednesday night. Leiper is happy to be playing two games a week for the time being as he gradually builds up his match sharpness having had to sacrifice much of pre-season due to the birth of his baby daughter.
He continued: “She came two weeks early so I’ve missed some of pre-season. On a personal point of view I wouldn’t have it any other way, but from a pre-season point of view it’s not been ideal. I still feel fairly fit but probably not as fit as I should be because I’ve missed some training sessions.
“We spent about five days in hospital because we didn’t know if she was going to deliver naturally or if it was going to be a section and in the end she ended up getting a section so she was kept in a few days. But she’s safe and well and that’s the main thing, and Lauren, is doing well too.”
Linlithgow host Newtongrange Star tomorrow afternoon still smarting from a 1-0 defeat by Stevie McLeish’s men in May, which ultimately saved Star from automatic relegation to the Premier League and cost then Rose boss Todd Lumsden his job.
“We are probably due them one after last season,” said Leiper. “They beat us at home and it’s not somewhere we are familiar to getting beat. I imagine they’ve got a few new players in so I don’t really know too much about them to be honest. It’s a home game and we’ll be looking to build on Wednesday night.
“Based on the quality of players compared to last season and the season before, I’m confident that we can start picking up points. Our main aim is to win the league, the Scottish and the domestic cups and with Linlithgow that’s always been the case. This season we should be aiming to winning every game with the quality we have in the dressing-room.”
Star slipped to their first defeat of the season in midweek when the lost out 2-0 to Midlothian rivals Penicuik Athletic, but McLeish is relishing his side’s trip to the royal burgh.
He said: “I enjoy going to Prestonfield. There is never any pressure on any team going there, it’s always on Linlithgow and that’s the enjoyment for any manager.
“We’ve just got to go and take the game as it comes and go and enjoy ourselves. The pressure comes on them right away – as soon as something goes wrong for them, their fans are right on top of them and it’s pretty significant. Certainly last year they really struggled with that, but I’m sure Mark [Bradley, Rose boss] will change their mindset to that.”
Elsewhere, Bonnyrigg Rose and Penicuik will be aiming to make it three wins out of three when they host Camelon and travel to Dundonald Bluebell, respectively. Bo’ness United will be looking to get back to winning ways with a trip to Jeanfield Swifts, while Broxburn Athletic visit Carnoustie Panmure seeking their first victory of the season.