Roddy MacLennan: Team spirit has put Linlithgow Rose back in bloom
Roddy MacLennan reckons Linlithgow Rose's start to their Super League campaign has helped to restore some pride at a club left badly damaged in recent seasons.
The Prestonfield men are currently on a seven-game winning run in all competitions and head into tomorrow’s home clash against Hill of Beath at the top of the league for the first time this season.
Their fortunes this campaign are in stark contrast to last season when the club flirted with relegation to the Premier League for the first time, with their safety in the top flight only made secure in May.
Midfielder MacLennan, who rejoined the club along with brother Ruari in the summer after a year away with rivals Bo’ness United, believes the return of former manager Mark Bradley has been key in their impressive form which is bringing supporters back through the turnstiles.
“Where we are in the league puts a wee bit of respect back into the name of Linlithgow, rather than what it was before,” said MacLennan.
“Even just speaking to the supporters, last year was kind of embarrassing for them. That’s not where Linlithgow should be. If it’s not the biggest club in the Juniors, it’s one of them and for them to nearly be relegated it wasn’t nice to see.
“The place was on a downer; the whole town was. Whereas this year, you can tell, the crowds are getting back up and we took a decent support to Lugar [Scottish Junior Cup tie] on Saturday.
“Mark [Bradley] has brought in good players who have all hit the ground running and added a lot to the team. He probably needed ten players and lot of folk would’ve said: ‘If he can get four or five this summer and another three or four next summer’... and make it a rebuilding thing, but he’s done brilliant to get that many players in that quickly.”
Rose can extend their advantage at the top tomorrow with Penicuik Athletic on Junior Cup duty with last weekend’s match away to Kilburnie Ladeside having been called off just an hour before kick-off.
MacLennan, who spent part of last season in Qatar with girlfriend Claire who is a primary teacher, believes Rose have yet to reach their full potential and is confident there is a lot more to come from Bradley’s men.
He continued: “We’re doing well, but we’re not even playing that well to be honest with you, we’re just having wee moments in games where somebody has a moment of brilliance. We’re putting together wee five or ten minute spells but we’re not really killing teams off like we should be.
“It’s a good sign; we’re winnings games and not playing at our best. So hopefully as soon as we start playing well we’ll kick on a bit.
“The gaffer said when we went top of the league the other week that we’re not taking half the chances we’re making and we’re top of the league. It’s a long season; Bonnyrigg will be up there I think.
“You want teams to chase you and try and put a bit of pressure on the rest them. Penicuik are kind of the newcomers to the situation of being up the top an you kind of want to put a wee bit of pressure on them to see how they deal with it.
“Bonnyrigg and Kelty have done that in recent seasons and it’s hard. When you see a team just winning and winning, as soon as you draw you think ‘Aw, well where do we get these two points back?’ You want to put a wee bit pressure on teams.
“To be fair to Penicuik, they were doing that to everyone else at the start.
“I think it will be a good league to be honest with you. It’s still strong and there are still good teams in it.
“There are a lot of good players in our league and they are a lot more spread out now, whereas before you had three teams that had 90 per cent of the better players.”