More than just derby bragging rights at stake for Linlithgow

Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley has demanded his team take advantage of their derby clash with Bo'ness United being the sole Super League match tomorrow by stretching their lead at the top of the table.

Friday, 29th December 2017, 5:30 am
Linlithgow Rose manager Mark Bradley is eyeing three points

The Prestonfield men are desperate for the match to be given the go ahead with freezing temperatures this week having put it in doubt. Bo’ness are equally eager for the game to be played having gone four weeks without playing.

Rose finally completed their Scottish Junior Cup fourth round clash away to Oakley United last week after four call-offs, with Bradley’s side easing through with a 3-0 victory.

“It was good to get a game and we played well to be fair, on a difficult pitch,” said Bradley. “We hadn’t had a game for four weeks but we got into our stride pretty quick. The boys delivered the performance we needed to get through. The training has been excellent; the standard has been good and we’ve done a lot of work, so I wouldn’t be too worried going into the Bo’ness match had we not had a game.

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Bo'ness manager Allan McGonigal

“It’s always good playing Bo’ness at home and at this time of year it will be a big crowd if we can get the game on. It’s good to get back to some league games and try and get some more points on the board.

“When you’re going for a league you need to win as many home games as you can and with Bonnyrigg winning last week they’ve clawed a little bit back. It’s the next opportunity for us to gather three points and that’s what we’ll be going to do.

“We played Bo’ness a few months ago and got a really good victory so hopefully we can follow that up with one at home, but it’ll be a difficult game. I know their form hasn’t been great – they are sitting in a bit of the league that they won’t want to be at so we’ll need to be well up for it with it being a derby.”

Last week’s victory came at a cost for Rose with captain Colin Leiper suffering a nasty facial injury in an aerial clash which left the defender bruised and bloodied.

Bo'ness manager Allan McGonigal

He required five stitches for a wound above his eye, but could be in contention tomorrow. Winger Owen Ronald, Rose’s standout player of the season so far, could also be available having returned to training this week following an accident at work.

Bo’ness boss Allan McGonigal led his side to four victories over Linlithgow last season, including a 3-0 triumph, but they are certainly underdogs tomorrow having struggled so far this campaign. They are just five points off the foot of the table.

“We certainly had a wee Indian sign over them last year, sometimes that happens in football,” said McGonigal. “It’s almost roles reversed from last season. We’re in a position that I’ve not been used to for a long, long time.

“I’ve been at Bo’ness since 2009 and it’s the first time it’s happened to us. As long as we stay in the league, we’ll be happy – the big thing is we’ve got a chance in the Scottish Cup. We need to be more ruthless in seeing out games. Hopefully Saturday can be a turning point.

“I went to watch Lithgae on Saturday and they won pretty comfortably. Nothing surprises me with Mark and Paul [Ronald, assistant manager] – they are two boys who I worked with at Dumbarton. I think, from what I’ve heard from Lithgae punters, they haven’t been at their best, but you don’t need to be at your best when you’re winning games every week. They’ve not lost a lot of goals at the back which has been a big thing for them.

“I’ve got a team just now that can score goals but they also concede goals. I’m certainly sure it will be an entertaining game and hopefully it will be bragging rights for the Bo’ness punters.

“I’m sure they’ll be in their numbers as they always are.”