Linlithgow Rose defender Gary Thom admits the Super League crown is now Bonnyrigg’s to lose but he insists they haven’t given up hope of usurping the table-toppers.
The Midlothian side have stormed their way to a commanding four-point lead over Linlithgow in recent weeks, and that total would have been greater had the New Dundas Park men not dropped two points last weekend away to Camelon.
Bonnyrigg’s dominant 4-1 victory at Linlithgow’s Prestonfield home at the end of March gave them the upper hand in the race for top spot and, coupled with Mark Bradley’s side suffering a 2-1 loss to Sauchie just a week later, it appeared that their pursuit had been ended.
“I was ill for the Bonnyrigg game as I’d been in my bed all week with the flu, I just never had the energy; it was disappointing to miss that game,” said Thom. “Then I don’t know what happened at Sauchie the week later. We just didn’t perform on the day. We’ve picked up since and we’ve kept it going. We just need to keep it going and try to put pressure on Bonnyrigg.
“We’ll still put pressure on ourselves to get results and take it as far as we can. It’s difficult because the ball is fully in their court – it is theirs to lose at the moment but we’ll just keep trying to win games and hopefully they drop points at some stage.”
Bradley’s men are chasing their first league title since 2013, just a year prior to Thom’s arrival from East Fife.
The player woud have expected the move to lead to silverware come the end of each season, but that’s something which has eluded him so far.
“It’s been really good under Mark and Ronaldo [Paul Ronald, assistant manager] this year,” continued the 28-year-old. “The boys that have come in ... we’ve really strengthened and it’s a good dressing-room with a good bunch of boys.
“We’re still in the two cups and we want to do our best to win them both. We need to win something this year. We’ve had good teams and good seasons but just not quite got there. We had the disappointment of the Scottish this year as well which was hard to take.”
Third-placed Rose entertain Broxburn Athletic, currently fourth, tomorrow, with Brian McNaughton’s men heading into the clash following a demoralising 6-1 defeat by Penicuik Athletic last weekend which ended their unbeaten Super League run.
McNaughton believes a match of this type is the perfect opportunity to bounce back with a bang and, considering his side got the better of Linlithgow earlier in the campaign, his players will be fired up to write the wrongs of last week.
“If you’re going to lose your home record, you might as well do it in style,” said McNaughton. “We’re kind of hopeful of getting some of the players who missed last week back this week but there’s still a few of them getting treatment.
“Nobody played in their proper position in our defence on Saturday so hopefully we’ll get a new back four in which can to make us a bit more solid.
“If you’ve had a defeat like that, you’re wanting to play one of the better teams in the league. We do better against the better teams anyway and out of the six fixtures we have left, it would be the one I’d want after Saturday. We beat Linlithgow earlier in the season and they are right up there with us.
“One thing I do know when you are playing against teams at the top end of the league is you need your best players, and we didn’t have all of them playing on Saturday and I think it showed a wee bit.”