Rose go 12 points clear at the top of Super League

Musselburgh Athletic 0Linithgow Rose 4

An emphatic 4-0 victory for Linlithgow saw them stretch their lead at the top of the Super League to an impressive 12 points, leaving the trailing teams with a huge task on their hands.

Linlithgow came into this game expecting a tough encounter, having been stretched against Musselburgh the last time the sides met at Prestonfield, so boss Mark Bradley was delighted by the manner of the win.

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He said: “To win here was a terrific result and it’s another win away from home. It seems we’re controlling games the more the season progresses and, with this being the only Super League game on at the weekend, it means we’re opening a gap at the top.”

The visitors took the lead in the seventh minute.

A good passing move down the left wing saw Stuart McArthur being played in just 15 yards from goal. He looked up and slid the ball under the out-rushing keeper and into the net.

Linlithgow dominated the game for long spells without any further goals until, with five minutes to go before half-time, they were awarded a penalty.

Andy Shirra was making a good run into the box when he was sandwiched between two defenders. Tommy Coyne stepped up and made an immaculate job from the spot to put the visitors two up.

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The game had only just restarted when Linlithgow went three up. The ball was played in to Colin Strickland on the penalty spot and he rolled it out to Coyne only six yards away on the left. He timed his effort perfectly and slammed it past the keeper to take the visitors in three up at the break.

Musselburgh came out for the second half looking a better side. They were passing the ball well but didn’t cause David Hay in the Linlithgow goal any real problems. Then, with ten minutes of the second half played, a misplaced pass from the heart of the home defence allowed Gordon Herd a chance. He controlled the ball before drilling it home from 12 yards.

The game was effectively over as a contest but both sides still looked for more.

Musselburgh came more and more into the game and Hay had several saves to make as David McGlynn’s men looked to claw back the Linlithgow lead. Then, deep into injury time, Musselburgh had two players sent off. Firstly, Michael McKenna was given a straight red card for a dangerous tackle and he was quickly followed by Calvin Shand for dissent over the same incident.

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Linlithgow boss Bradley 
added: “If we can keep chalking the games off then we’re in a good position. Our training is excellent with a great tempo and the players are carrying this into the games. Everybody is itching to play and that’s great for the side.

“The fans are talking about us going the whole season unbeaten in the league but that’s fairytale stuff because the further you go unbeaten then other sides are desperate to beat you. I’ll let the supporters worry about that. All I want to do is get the title.”

Musselburgh manager David McGlynn was honest in his assessment of the game, saying: “They were clinical in front of goal. They had five chances in the first half and scored three goals. We had five chances in the first half and scored none.

“They are a good side and at the top of the table on credit. I’ve told our lads we have to learn from that. We’re a young side and I’m delighted with the progress they’re making. Linlithgow’s monthly wage bill is probably what our wage bill would be for a season so we have to look to the younger players coming in.”

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Linlithgow’s Stuart McArthur, one of the few players in the side to have won a Super League 
title, was in confident mood after the game. “This is the best side I’ve played in. We’re getting better every time we play. 
“The training is fantastic and when the games come round we just play the way we do in training. We’re getting stronger the season goes on and are confident we can have a terrific season.”

Musselburgh Athletic: Adams, Travis, Noble, Murray, Hamilton, Shand, Russell, Thomson, King, McKenna, Sinclair (Ponton). Subs: McWilliams, Lawder, Cornet.

Linlithgow Rose: Hay, Gibson, Nelson, McKenzie (Wilson), Ovenstone, Tyrrell, McArthur, Shirra (Ro McLennan), Strickland, Coyne, Herd (Ru McLennan). Subs: Smith, Manson.