Tommy Coyne has set his sights on scoring 300 goals for Linlithgow Rose after he cemented himself as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer last weekend.
The 30-year-old striker reached the 274-goal mark from the penalty spot in a routine 2-0 East of Scotland Cup success over Hill of Beath at Prestonfield last Saturday to end club legend David Blaikie’s long-standing record in this his ninth season at the club.
It is a momentous achievement for Coyne, son of former Celtic and Ireland internationalist Tommy Coyne senior. He said: “It was probably one of, if not the biggest day in my career. I’ve won the Scottish Cup with Linlithgow and things like that, but to break the record... It wasn’t something that was on my mind; as it came closer it was obviously something I wanted to do, but it’s away now and it’s a bit of a monkey off my back, so we need to kick on and get a few good results.
“I just wanted it to happen. It’s been a long time coming with games getting called off with this and that. When we got the penalty to break it my heart was pumping. It’s a hard thing to do – score 274 goals and to break it; I’m really proud of that.
“A lot of the boys have been kidding on saying all I score nowadays is penalties. I think somebody said to me I’ve taken 60 penalties and scored 57 of them since I’ve been at Linlithgow... somebody has to take them.
“My target now is to reach 300. I’ve got this season and still have another year left on my contract so 300 has got to be my aim, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time. We’ve got a lot of things to play for this season and it’s not just about me and my goals tally, it’s about the team.”
With Mark Bradley having returned to manage Rose at the tail end of last season, Coyne was reunited with his former boss whom he enjoyed great success with. The last few years haven’t been quite so memorable, with the club having gone without silverware since June 2014 when they lifted the Fife and Lothians Cup.
Unbeaten since August and competing back at the top end of the Super League, Coyne is confident and determined to ensure they will secure silverware this season.
“It’s been a long time, a few years now since Linlithgow has won something and we need to be winning things,” said Coyne ahead of tomorrow’s match at home to Kennoway Star Hearts. “I think the league is the most important thing for us this year, it’s been too long since we’ve won the league.
“I was here the last time the gaffer was in charge and we went on an incredible run. I can see signs of that again; he instils a great camaraderie within everybody – everybody gets on well and we’re playing good football. I don’t think we’ve played the best we can yet. It’s a big difference to what it was like the last few years.
“I don’t think we’ve played anywhere near our best yet, there’s still a lot to come. It’s a new team and boys are still getting to know each other, but I think we’re unbeaten in ten or 11 games, maybe even more than that.”
Having firmly established himself as a club legend, there’s not much more Coyne can achieve at Linlithgow, yet he’s firmly settled and happy to see out the remainder of his career at the club after an emotional week which brought fond memories.
“I’ll not play anywhere else apart from Linlithgow now I don’t think. I don’t really want to go anywhere else and I’ll look to sign on again when my current deal ends,” added Coyne.
“I’m 31 in May so who says I can’t play on until I’m 34 or 35 at least – that’s if Linlithgow want me.
“Looking back at pictures the club posted on Facebook from throughout the years, it’s been quite a humbling week for me just to see what I’ve actually done. I didn’t really realise the extent of it until it sunk in when I went home.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve done, but there’s no point stopping now, I need to continue.”