Newtongrange Star boss Alan Miller insists he’ll have no qualms about pitching teenage goalkeeper Dylan Rooney in from the start for a crucial clash away to Linlithgow Rose tomorrow.
With first-choice keeper Kieron Renton sidelined for several weeks with a ruptured tendon in a little finger and back-up goalie James McQueen on holiday in Turkey, the 19-year-old is set to assume his place between the sticks.
The youngster was drafted in as a late trialist from East Fife for last week’s 3-2 win at home to Broughty Athletic. Sighting his performance in that match as well as his first-team exposure with the League 2 club, Miller isn’t concerned.
“I’ve got every confidence in the young man,” said Miller.
“He did very well last week and he certainly wasn’t at fault for any of the goals we conceded. He’s a confident young man so if push comes to shove and we have to rely on him then we’ll do that.
“He played for East Fife in the play-offs last year and he saved a couple of penalties so we’re talking about a talented young player. People get a wee bit agitated when they’ve not got experience and that’s understandable, but he’s certainly capable.”
Miller strengthened his squad over the summer with a number of additions from the Senior ranks and believes his players are better equipped this season than they were last when they recorded a 1-1 draw at Prestonfield.
However, despite adding the likes of Lee Currie and Stephen Tulloch from Berwick Rangers, Star have got off to a stuttering start with just three victories from their opening seven Super League matches compared to last season’s storming opening when they lost just one of their opening 14.
Revealing that his side will make the trip to West Lothian tomorrow intent on coming away with all three points, Miller feels his men still have a lot more to offer.
He said: “Everybody gets a lift going through to Linlithgow and these games tend to take care of themselves. For once I’m not really bothered about a performance, I just want to get a win. We’ll go there with that aim.
“We have improved the squad and we are happy with the players we’ve brought in, but it’s no good talking about having good players, they’ve got to go out and demonstrate that. In the past two seasons we have started the season better so hopefully we’ll finish off the season stronger this time around.
“I think there is more to come from this team. We are obviously delighted with the options that we’ve got, now we just need to start motoring.”
A double from striker Kris Renton and a 25-yard screamer from Currie gave Star all three points last weekend to lift them up to joint seventh and two points behind tomorrow’s opponents. However, having led 3-0 at the interval they threatened to undo their first-half performance as they conceded two after the break ensuring a nervy finish.
Miller is looking for his side to perform well over the 90 minutes tomorrow, he added: “For all of our brilliance in the first half [of matches], we just need to focus on that and try and extend the period in which we perform well – if we can do that then we’ll be fine.”
Elsewhere, Penicuik Athletic seek their third win on the trot when they visit Carnoustie, while Robbie Horn’s Bonnyrigg Rose travel to Fauldhouse United. Bo’ness United will be looking to maintain their position at the top of the table with a win at Broughty, while Musselburgh host champions Kelty Hearts.