Prestonfield men end 10 year wait without a league title - and now have their eyes on the Lowland League

Linlithgow Rose president Jon Mahoney has spoken of his pride after the Prestonfield club ended their ten-year wait without a league title by securing the East of Scotland Premier Division crown.
Title heroes: Rose players and management celebrate at Millfield Park [Pic: Emma McGuire]Title heroes: Rose players and management celebrate at Millfield Park [Pic: Emma McGuire]
Title heroes: Rose players and management celebrate at Millfield Park [Pic: Emma McGuire]

Rose knew they needed just a point from their trip to Haddington Athletic on Saturday to take them over the finishing line but they took all three from a highly competitive fixture thanks to goals from Alan Sneddon and captain Connor McMullan in either half.

Mahoney, who has been associated with the Prestonfield club as a fan since the 1970s before joining the committee in 2016, was on the pitch at full-time handing out bottles of champagne to players and management as the celebrations kicked off. The league title is set to be presented next Saturday at full-time when Rose host Crossgates Primrose.

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"If the game hadn’t been so critical for us I’d have quite enjoyed it,” said Mahoney. “Haddington go about things the right way, they are a good footballing side, they have some good players and I thought they were fantastic as a club; the way they looked after us after the game, they were a credit to themselves.

“It’s good to get it over the line, and it was good to win it under our own steam. Sauchie kept us really honest with the run that they’ve had, we’ve not had the space to really slip up because they have been fantastic in the run in as well.

“We’ve maybe not been where we need to be for two or three years. Right in the middle of that ten years was the Scottish Cup run to the last 16, so it’s not all been difficult times, there has been some good moments, but not consistent moments.

“When Gordon and John came in they said their challenge was to win a trophy in their first season, because we needed to win a trophy. They said right at the start that they would do everything they could to try and win the league, and they’ve been true to their word.

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"They have made some shrewd moves in the transfer market, it’s not all been big name signings, we’ve tapped in to teams round about us and been able to secure some good players from clubs at our level. For a while we were looking up the leagues and bringing in players from the SPFL – we would still be delighted to do that – but giving boys a chance and a platform is what it’s all about.”

Volunteers are the backbone to any club at this level; without them, clubs simply wouldn’t function. From Stuart McIntyre, the club’s kitman, to the groundstaff trio of Dougie Vesey, Drew McElrean and Richard Upson – Mahoney is keen to state the importance of their commitment to creating an environment which allows both the players and management to flourish.

"I am really chuffed for all the guys that work away in the background, the hard yards that go into these football clubs – that’s not just Linlithgow, that’s everywhere at this level, they are all volunteers and when they get a bit of success, it makes all that volunteering time worthwhile.”

Now the small matter of the Lowland League play-offs await as Rose bid to join their neighbours down the hill.