Linlithgow Rose boss knows flawless finish is needed

Danny Smith. 'Pic: Alan Murray
Danny Smith. 'Pic: Alan Murray
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Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith insists his side must keep winning games if they are to have any chance of overtaking Bo’ness United at the top of the Super League.

Smith is a month into his new role after departing Camelon to replace Mark Bradley as Rose manager, and the former Linlithgow captain has enjoyed a bright start to his tenure.

Since a 1-1 draw with Tayport in his first match in charge, Smith has led the defending champions to three successive victories against Newtongrange, Broxburn and St Andrews to maintain their push for a domestic double.

Leaders Bo’ness are four points clear of fourth-place Linlithgow with both sides still having six games remaining.

Newtongrange and Bonnyrigg, second and third respectively, look to be out of the race as they have played more games than their rivals. With Linlithgow and Bo’ness still to play each other for a second time this campaign, a potential title decider awaits.

Linlithgow host Sauchie at Prestonfield tomorrow in what will be Smith’s fifth match at the helm, and he is expecting nothing less than three points.

“Hopefully we can get ourselves another three points and gather a bit of momentum in the league,” he said.

“It’s been a good month, the players have worked hard and we are getting some results. We are getting a wee bit closer to Bo’ness so things are hotting up a wee bit, but we need to keep winning games.

“The players have adapted well to the way myself and Alan Moffat [assistant manager] do things. By doing that they have given themselves an outside chance of trying to retain the league.”

Despite having the fate of the title out of their hands, a continuation of their current form can only put pressure on Bo’ness at the top of the table.

Smith knows the competitive nature of the top flight well enough and he is adamant that there will be a few more twists and turns to come before the season is over.

Citing the fact that any team is capable of taking points off each other, Smith still believes there is a long way to go in determining who will end up top of the pile. He said: “There are still plenty points to be won and lost so it is not over yet.

“Any game you play in the Super League is a difficult game. Everybody is capable of taking points of each other. We just need to take it as one game at a time and hopefully keep winning and getting the three points.

“To give ourselves a serious chance of winning the league you need to win as many games as possible. If we could win the six then we’d give ourselves a great chance.

“It’s going to be very difficult as there are still a lot of difficult games coming up. This squad of players are more than capable. They just need to keep working hard and hopefully the results will keep coming.”

Many of the Rose squad are playing for their futures at the club, with several out of contract at the end of the season, although Tommy Coyne, Andy Shirra and Adam Nelson recently penned new deals.

With one eye already on next season as he looks to improve his squad, Smith says it is important that the out-of-contract players focus on doing their best for the club rather than worrying about their future. “There are quite a few players out of contract, but that is not anything to worry about,” said Smith. “I would rather we all focused on trying to win our league games than worrying about the contract side of things. I’m not saying it’s not important, but we can sit down at the end of the season to get these things sorted out.

“It is up to the players to put in performances. If they are doing the business on the football park, they will be at the club.”

Defender John Ovenstone returns for Rose tomorrow having sat out last week’s win at St Andrews through injury and suspension. Stuart McArthur is the only player unavailable for the home side.