Route to the Lowland League is unclear for East of Scotland Premier champions-elect Linlithgow Rose
The Prestonfield club hold a ten-point lead at the summit and know three points from their trip to Musselburgh Athletic on Saturday afternoon will bring them one step closer.
Securing the league trophy would complete part one of manager Gordon Herd’s aims this season, with promotion to the Lowland League their ultimate goal.
As it stands, Rose would compete in a two-legged play-off with South of Scotland leaders Creetown – currently going through the process to obtain their SFA license – for a place in the fifth tier, as current West of Scotland leaders Beith, are an unlicensed club.
“We need five points from our last five games,” said Herd. “Musselburgh is massive for us, if we can get something at Musselburgh and then look at Tynecastle and Haddington – the league is in our hands.
“Getting three points at Jeanfield a couple of weeks ago was massive for us, to go there and get three points, if we can get three points at Musselburgh that would take us one foot over the finishing line.
“It’s a hard place to go, it’s always been a hard place to go; I don’t think we’ve got the greatest record down there and they seem to have picked up a little bit. They have made some good signings, so it will be a very difficult game, but the boys are focussed on what we need to do. It’s up to us to go there and get a victory.
“They beat us earlier in the season at Linlithgow when we hadn’t quite kicked into gear yet. Historically, you always get a hard game at Musselburgh, even when I was a player we didn’t have the greatest record there. I don’t think we had won in six or seven years until we went down there last year. With us going for the title and everyone wanting to stop us, it makes it a wee bit harder.
“The league is our bread and butter; we need to get into the Lowland League. If we win the league and get promotion, that’s mission complete.”