BONNYRIGG and Musselburgh both face crunch clashes tomorrow – but for different reasons at opposite ends of the Super League table.
For Bonnyrigg, a home clash with Hill of Beath could prove decisive in the battle for the title. A win for Max Christie’s men will take them to the top of the table above Linlithgow and also open up a three-point cushion on Hill of Beath.
But for Musselburgh, last season’s Junior Cup finalists, the end of the current campaign is a lot less appetising. As things stand, David McGlynn’s men are heading back to the Premier Division after two seasons in the top flight.
With Forfar West End having gone into abeyance earlier in the season, only one relegation spot has to be filled – and Musselburgh face a fight to avoid that. They’re two points adrift of Carnoustie each with two games to go – against Bo’ness and Hill of Beath for both of them.
If Musselburgh pick up six points, they’ll definitely be safe as that would take them above Bathgate, who have completed their programme.
Bonnyrigg stepped up their title challenge with a 2-0 home victory over Bo’ness on Wednesday, effectively ending their opponents’ hopes of a third straight championship success.
“We ground that one out,” said Christie as he reflected on a third successive clean sheet from his side. “It wasn’t quite Barcelona v Chelsea but we were hitting them on the break.
“Bo’ness, who are a good team, played well but it was a good defensive display from us.”
Hill of Beath boss Jock Finlayson is believed to have been at that game to run the rule over Rose ahead of tomorrow’s clash.
“I’d have thought so,” replied Christie when asked if he thought it was now a straight two-horse race for the title involving Bonnyrigg and the Fifers.
“That means Saturday is a massive game and there’s no doubt that Hill of Beath will come here aiming to beat us.
“They are a strong team, collectively more than individually I’d say. They have two good front players in Bathgate and Smart.
“But all their players work hard, they have great energy and great spirit, similar to Auchinleck probably.
“However, we don’t fear anyone and hopefully we can keep showing our spirit and resilience, too.
“If we can get a win tomorrow, we’ll be happy cats and I think then the title will be ours to lose.”
Goalkeeper Michael Burgess has proved an able deputy for Mark Weir between the posts in the last couple of games. Sean Woodburn, Liam McKenna and Stephen Thomson have also done good jobs for Christie since they were added to the squad in the second half of the season. “They’ve all been big additions,” admitted the Bonnyrigg boss.
Musselburgh, meanwhile, will have to do it the hard way if they are going to hang on to their cherished Super League status.
They’re away at Bo’ness tomorrow then bring down the curtain on their campaign at Hill of Beath.
“We’d obviously preferred to have been safe by now and the two games we have left are certainly tough ones,” said McGlynn.
“But, at the same time, they are good ones for us because players prefer playing against bigger teams.”
McGlynn has had to “cut his cloth” during the course of the season and is hoping the team he’s started to rebuild will still be in the top flight next term.
“Apart from a couple of games, I feel we’ve not played all that badly and last Saturday’s game was probably the most one- sided I’ve ever seen.
“I still believe we can stay up and so do the players – we just need a bit of luck to go our way.”