Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith insists his team can still catch Kelty Hearts in the McBookie.com Super League title race despite suffering “a bad day” as they lost 1-0 to the leaders.
Paul Currie’s late strike left Rose 14 points behind the Fifers – albeit with four games in hand. “It’s a bad day for us but, to be truthful, we didn’t put them under enough pressure,” said Smith. “They are a big, physical side who push forward with confidence. There is still plenty of time to catch them.
“I changed things around to stiffen up the midfield and for most of the game it was a battle for the midfield. There were very few chances in the whole 90 minutes but they managed to convert something out of nothing. It was a real scrappy goal to lose.
“It’s disappointing to lose games by goals like that but I feel we didn’t do enough to get a result.”
Smith packed the midfield with a stiff line-up of Batchelor, Shirra, Nelson and Ruari MacLennan behind a strikeforce of Tommy Coyne and Kevin Kelbie.
The Fifers had a couple of chances in the opening half-hour without really troubling Rose goalkeeper Scott Christie. The visitors found their feet as the half-time whistle drew near but in a breakaway it was Kelty’s Stuart Cargill who almost broke the deadlock with a fine strike only to be thwarted by an equally fine save from Christie.
The second half followed the same pattern with neither side creating much.
It became apparent that only a mistake from a hesitant defence would bring a breakthrough and, unluckily for Rose, it came from them in the 80th minute.
The ball was played into the penalty box. It bounced around with no one making a solid clearance. Eventually it fell to Paul Currie 15 yards out with no-one near him. He dispatched clinically into the net.
Kelty Hearts: Allison, Duffin, Leighton, O Neil, T Courts, C Courts, Ritchie, Greig, Dalziel, Cargill, Currie. Subs: Morrison, Grady, O Reilly, McCabe, Marley.
Linlithgow: Christie, Wilson, McKillen, O’Byrne, Ovenstone, Nelson, Batchelor, Shirra, Kelbie, Coyne, Ru MacLennan. Subs: Ro MacLennan, Strickland, Tyrrell, Smith, McKinven.