Robert Sloan hopes a derby victory over Bo’ness United can be the catalyst for a winning Super League run for Linlithgow Rose.
The former Hearts midfielder returned to familiar surroundings at Newtown Park last weekend having left the BUs for their fierce rivals in the summer.
Sloan spent four years with Bo’ness and established himself as a fans’ favourite, but opted for a change when he received a call from Rose boss Mark Bradley at the end of last season.
The 34-year-old could have been wearing maroon last term, with close friend and former team-mate Steven Hislop having attempted to acquire his services when he was assistant to former manager Todd Lumsden.
“I had a good wee record at Bo’ness against Linlithgow, so it was strange last week having crossed to the other side,” said Sloan. “I was desperate to win the game, especially knowing a lot of the boys anyway, so it was good to get the win over them.
“I got a wee bit of grief off the Bo’ness fans, but I enjoy that, that’s what it’s all about. I was in with them after the game, talking away to them. I got on great with the Bo’ness fans and they were all brand new, although they weren’t too happy with getting beat.
“I just thought it was time for a wee change. I really enjoyed my four years at Bo’ness, I loved it there. Being 34 now, I’ve probably only got two or three years left at the most and just thought it was time for a wee change to try something new.
“I had spoke to Hissy just after he got the job, and it was kind of maybe happening, then it wasn’t and it ended up falling through around Christmas time. Unfortunately they ended up losing their job not long later which wasn’t good for them. As soon as Mark phoned me, he said he had big plans to get the club back to where they were and it excited me.”
A sublime chip from Roddy MacLennan and a stunning strike from red-hot winger Owen Ronald secured all three points last week to somewhat soothe the agony of Rose’s William Hill Scottish Cup exit to Banks o’Dee the week before.
The derby success lifted the Prestonfield men up to joint second in the league standings, as they closed the gap on league leaders Penicuik Athletic to two points as they shared the spoils with Bonnyrigg Rose. The win will count for little, however, unless Rose take maximum points at home to Broughty Athletic tomorrow.
Sloan added: “We’ve got three good games coming up so we can hopefully try and get nine points out of these and see where we are from there. We aren’t looking at the table at the moment, hopefully we can string a five or six results together and then see where we are.
“We’ve played seven and won five, and apart from Penicuik who blitzed us in the first half, we’ve dominated 70-80 per cent of games, so the manager is quite happy, especially having nine or ten new players and trying to get used to playing with each other.”
Rose won just four out of their 15 home league fixtures last season in a miserable campaign in which they flirted with relegation to the Premier League. They can match last season’s home win total with victory tomorrow and that is exactly what manager Bradley is after.
He said: “We need to show more consistency and if we can do that, then we’ll start putting more points on the board. The league is a little bit tighter now at the top and we need to just keep ourselves up there and we can only do that if we keep stringing wins together.
“You’ve got to be very difficult to beat at home. Linlithgow has always been a hard place for teams to come with the expectations that are there. Teams get a lift from coming to us, so we need to be ready for that. We need to be very hard to beat at home and we’ll try to keep that going on Saturday.”