Linlithgow Rose boss wants team to maintain high standards against all opposition

Kevin Watt scores the opening goal for Linlithgow Rose. Pic: Alistair Linford
Kevin Watt scores the opening goal for Linlithgow Rose. Pic: Alistair Linford
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Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley admits it is difficult for his players to approach each game with the right mentality this season as they compete against teams of varying quality.

Rose eventually steamrolled Heriot-Watt 6-0 to maintain their place at the summit of Conference C, netting five goals in the last 17 minutes. It wasn’t as easy as the final scoreline suggested, though, with the students having competed well.

Bradley wasn’t best pleased with his side’s first-half showing, but felt they were always in control. He said: “We didn’t play great in the first half, but once we got the second goal – I wouldn’t say we were dominant, we had a lot of the ball without really doing an awful lot with it – I never felt as if we were going to get beaten.

“They play very slow and very textbook so we needed to up our game and play our game instead of falling into the trap on a massive park on astroturf against a team, who with all due respect, aren’t the same level as us. As soon as we got the game up to a tempo we play at, you saw the difference. We should be doing that from the start.”

Rose are intent on securing their first league crown since their last Junior title in season 2012/13, and Bradley believes they should be taking three points from every fixture.

He continued: “With all due respect, we should be winning every game in this league that we play. We have to be setting our target and we have to try and make it as competitive as we can for ourselves. We shouldn’t be in this league with these guys because this is their league and we’ve come into it and sort of taken over. The competition isn’t as high as it should be. We’ve got to keep our mentality right for when we play teams like Camelon and Broxburn and the teams that are better.

“When you play with Linlithgow, you should be able to raise your game no matter who you have played the week before. It’s a lot to do with mentality, I don’t think we can totally blame the competition here.”

Rose netted with their first chance after 14 minutes. Ruari MacLennan’s through ball put brother Roddy through in behind the home defence and he cut back for Kevin Watt to tap in from close range.

Visiting goalkeeper Kyle Marley was called into action on the hour after defender Jamie MacKenzie gifted possession straight to Watt winger Matt Graham. His curling strike was set for the bottom corner until Marley dived to push it wide.

Rose had huffed and puffed, but they got the crucial second goal on 73 minutes with a fine precision strike from Roddy MacLennan which he planted into the bottom corner from 25 yards out. Robert Sloan made it three with ten minutes remaining from a 30-yard free-kick. Watt keeper Callum Reid looked to have saved it, but referee Craig Wilson judged the ball to have gone over the line.

Three goals in the final five minutes through Tommy Coyne, Darren Smith and an own goal left Watt deflated.

Watt boss Banji Koya expressed his pride at his side’s performance. He said: “I am really proud of the way we performed against a team of Linlithgow’s calibre. The scoreline did not reflect the game. I said to the boys after the game, they should not feel sorry for themselves as they maximised everything and their performance levels were higher.”

Heriot-Watt University: Reid, Munro, Barclay, Giovanovits (Duffy), Hogg, Higgins (Laurenson), Singh, Spence, Graham, Shrive, Quinn.

Linlithgow Rose: Marley, Gray, McKinnon, Barbour, MacKenzie, Sloan (Urquhart), Ronald, Ruari MacLennan (Shields), Watt (Smith), Coyne, Roddy MacLennan.