Bonnyrigg Rose will have to cut their celebrations short should they secure the Super League title when they take on Camelon at home tonight (kick-off 7pm).
Rose just need a point from their final two matches to become champions and kill off the challenge of Kelty Hearts. However, should they draw or win tonight, there won’t be any over-exuberant festivities at New Dundas Park as the majority, if not all, of their players will be working tomorrow morning.
Although he is excited at the prospect of winning the championship on their home park, Rose boss Robbie Horn has hit out at the way the fixtures have fallen, especially as they have been given this Saturday off.
Tonight’s match is Rose’s fifth midweek game on the trot, while nearest challengers Kelty haven’t played any games during the week on league duty, despite having two more games to play than the league leaders.
“It will be nice to do it on our own park, but preferably it would be on a Saturday,” said Horn. “We’ve got a free week on Saturday, which at this time of the season doesn’t make any sense. Tonight will be our fifth midweek game and I don’t think Kelty have played a midweek game yet – it just beggars belief and then all of a sudden you get a free Saturday at the end of the season. There’s something not right there.
“You would obviously rather win it on a Saturday. On a Wednesday night you can’t celebrate as much with work the next day, so it’s a wee bit disappointing the way the fixtures have worked out.”
It’s a frustration that Horn is surely happy to live with, however. After joining the club in June after leaving his role as Berwick Rangers’ assistant manager, Horn would’ve just been happy to challenge at the top end of the table this season.
The former Hearts defender, along with assistant David Burrell, have exceeded all expectations given Rose finished just inside the top half of the table last season. Lifting the club’s first title since season 2011/12 would also make a mockery of the oddsmakers, as Rose were chalked up as 25/1 outsiders at the start of the campaign.
Horn has surpassed his own expectations this season and given they are in the last four of the Fife and Lothians Cup, they could yet complete a league and cup double to cap off an impressive first season in charge.
“I came in at the start of the season and tried to instil a belief in the players that we were here to compete in the league and the cup competitions and that was our aim,” said Horn.
“As our season has wore on we’ve got ourselves into a position where we are up there trying to challenge and win the league – it has gone a million times better than what people maybe expected. We are still in a cup competition, so we’ve still got big games to play.”
Horn was asked to go back to Shielfield Park in October and take over as manager after Colin Cameron was sacked. It was a decision which he mulled over with the prospect of a quick return to the SPFL a difficult one to ignore. In the end, he decided to continue his work with Rose and he insists he will be staying around for a while yet to see things through with the prospect of leading the club into the William Hill Scottish Cup next season.
He added: “I’ll be here for the foreseeable. There’s been talk about different senior options, but it’s so difficult. There was Gary Locke watching the game on Saturday – he is obviously waiting for an opportunity to get back into senior football. What I’ve learnt is that football isn’t a case of what you’ve achieved yourself, it’s sometimes about who you know and you’ve maybe done in the past.
“It doesn’t mean you’re meant to be a great manager, but if you have 30 caps for Scotland and played at a higher level, you are always going to get a chance before somebody else who has maybe earned the right to get there. I’m maybe a wee bit bitter about it, but that’s football.”