Jon Mahoney knows more than most what a glory run in the William Hill Scottish Cup can do for a club like Linlithgow Rose.
Now club president of the Prestonfield outfit, ‘The Rose’ have been ingrained in Mahoney for almost as long as he can remember – stretching as far back as 40 years ago when he would sneak in through the turnstiles at half-time as youngster, knowing he could get in for free.
“I just went up as a kid because you could get in at half-time for nothing and that was your way of seeing football at the time when you didn’t have any of your pocket money left,” reflected Mahoney, who was instated as president over the summer.
From a supporter perspective, to someone involved at the coal face of running the club, Mahoney has seen it all over the years, with the past few months in particular having been an extraordinary period for the club, after leaving the Juniors and moving to the East of Scotland League.
Mahoney has presided over the biggest change in the Rose’s history, with himself a strong advocate of the club leaving behind their 129 years of Junior membership.
He continued: “It was a hard decision for Linlithgow Rose because we’ve been a Junior club since we were first formed and a lot of guys have put their heart and soul into making the Rose the best Junior club they can be,” he added.
“We’ve had our ups and downs along the way, we’ve had some tough times but some great times. There is a sense of loyalty if you like Junior football and everything that means for the communities that embraced it right through to the 21st century.
The East of Scotland is a long standing league and when you shift over you very quickly realise that we are all just football clubs at the end of the day.”
Participating in the Scottish Cup has been particularly fulfilling for Linlithgow over the past ten years, ever since they made their debut in the competition in 2008 and reached the fourth round with a meeting against Queen of the South.
More recently, the club became the first Junior side to reach the last 16 when they defeated Forfar Athletic in 2016, with their reward a glamour tie against Premiership opponents Ross County.
Rose will be hopeful of another memorable run as they prepare to visit former Junior foes Beith tomorrow in the second round. Mahoney continued: “We’ve had some fantastic runs in the Scottish Cup, right from the early days when junior football teams were first allowed to participate.
“When we went to Queen of the South in our very first season we happened to be the first game up on Sportscene on the highlights that night. I think there were a few postponements elsewhere but Dumfries escaped the worst of the weather.
“It’s great for a club of our size and positioning in the game to get that sort of exposure. It feels like we’ve delivered a lot of firsts in the Scottish Cup; it’s just been a fantastic experience.
“The cup always brings a good crowd out because it’s different and you are getting a chance to test yourself against teams that are generally ranked higher than you. When you do manage to topple one, like we did with Forfar, it’s just really special.
“Financially, it makes a huge difference.
“We’ve never been a club that has invested all of the money that we earn from these kind of runs straight back into the playing squad, because it is bonus money if you can put it that way.
“A Scottish Cup run should always be bonus money.
“If you start to rely on it for your day-to-day running then you are going to find yourself in some difficultly.
“We were fortunate enough to get a run that enabled us to replace our floodlights and that means a lot to us to have these new lights and know that we are continuing to progress the development of the ground.”