Bonnyrigg Rose player-coach Steven Hislop is in line for a return against old foe Linlithgow Rose when the Rose’s clash at New Dundas Park tomorrow.
The 36-year-old striker faced the Prestonfield club many a time in blue and white for rivals Bo’ness United, but after moving to Bonnyrigg in the summer, he is set to rekindle the rivalry after returning from injury.
Admitting he could be in for some flak from the Linlithgow support after his 17 goals propelled the BUs to the Super League title last term, experienced frontman Hislop would love to find the back of the net tomorrow afternoon.
“I think I might get a wee bit of a hard time,” said Hislop, who returned to training this week after an Achilles problem.
“I actually got on alright with the Linlithgow fans – I had some good banter with them when I was at Bo’ness. I just want to enjoy football at my age and it’s good to have a bit of craic with the fans. They are all fine – they might not be like that if I score the winner though.”
Bonnyrigg have had a poor start to the season by their standards. After last season’s third-placed finish, Rose were expected to challenge at the top this term after recruiting wisely in the summer. However, three losses from their opening three games had them languishing at the other end of the table until they got their first points on the board last weekend in a 3-0 win over Ballingry Rovers.
Hislop, who picked up his injury in the opening-day defeat to Musselburgh Athletic, admits confidence is back amongst the Bonnyrigg players after three defeats on the trot had taken its toll on the squad.
He said: “It was good to get a win last weekend, we needed that. We’ve stuttered with injuries, but I don’t really use that as an excuse. We have been down on our luck with numbers, but we’ve just got to get on with it.
“Myself and Max [Christie, Bonnyrigg manager] have plenty confidence in the players and it showed last week. In the first half we were different class. We took our foot off the gas in the second half, but that happens.
“Sometimes you can be a wee bit critical of the players because they took their foot of the gas and you want them to score more goals, but we got the three points and a clean sheet, which is the most important thing.”
Despite their poor start to the season, Bonnyrigg will still believe they can mount a challenge at the top of the table given the league campaign is only four games old. A win tomorrow would put them just a point behind fourth-placed Linlithgow. Hislop believes Linlithgow will still be smarting from last weekend when they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Hill of Beath and will be looking to get back on the winning trail, but insists it is vital his side start to win their home matches.
“They will obviously be hurting because they’ve had a couple of poor results at home by their standards and they’d have expected to win those games. They’ll be looking to come here and get their challenge back on track,” said Hislop.
“However, we need to win tomorrow and get a win for the fans at home to give them something to cheer about.
“We need to take points off quite a few teams now. We’ve dropped points already, so essentially we are nine points off the top already after four games, which is not where we wanted to be. We need to start winning at home. If you want to win leagues you need to win your home games.”
Elsewhere in the Super League tomorrow, champions Bo’ness will be looking to return to winning ways after being held at home to Penicuik Athletic last weekend, when they take on Broxburn Athletic at Newtown Park.
Penicuik will be aiming for all three points themselves when fellow promoted side Fauldhouse United travel to Midlothian, while second-placed Newtongrange Star go to Armadale Thistle after an unbeaten start.