'In the second half we just capitulated' - Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd hits out after team blow 2-0 lead to lose 4-2

Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd read the riot act to his players after a second-half capitulation saw them blow a 2-0 half-time home lead against lowly Blackburn United to lose 4-2.

By Craig Goldthorp
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:58 pm
Gordon Herd told his players some home truths after Wednesday night's defeat

The defeat on Wednesday night officially ends Linlithgow’s chances of winning this season’s East of Scotland Premier Division as the third placed Prestonfield side are now nine and seven points adrift of leaders Tranent Juniors and second placed Penicuik Athletic respectively with just two fixtures to play.

“It was a total Jekyll and Hyde performance,” Herd said. “The first half was probably as well as we’ve played all season. I thought we were excellent.

"But in the second half we conceded an early goal and we just capitulated.

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"I didn’t like it but I felt I had to call a few boys out after the game because it seems to be the same people that are making mistakes at crictical times of games and it’s costing us big style because we seem to be fragile when we lose a goal and go into our shell.

"It’s something we need to address as a management team because it’s happened far too many times on our watch.

"Players are fragile, it’s a lack of character, a lack of purpose. Some of the boys need to grow up fast as it’s becoming too much of a regular occurence.”

Things had looked rosy for Rose in a first half which saw Connor McMullan and Mark Stowe score for a 2-0 lead.

But the concession of four goals after the interval – including a header from a corner, long range shot in off a post, penalty after a foul by goalie Dean Shaw and a deflected fourth – swung the game the visitors’ way.

"I thought the goalkeeper was at fault for at least two of the goals or possibly three,” Herd said.

"The first goal gave Blackburn a wee bit of hope, the second goal was a double whammy where they’ve just got a great bit of heart from it and it’s totally sunk us.

"I’ve watched the second goal two or three times and I’m struggling to see how it came about. It was just a total killer, a totally avoidable goal to lose.”

Linlithgow’s recent downturn in results – they have lost four of their last eight league games – followed an incredible run when they won 21 matches in a row in league and cup and looked a good bet to land the Premier Division crown.

"It was always going to be a big ask for us to win the league,” Herd said. “We did get a bit of hope but – like I keep saying – are we ready for a Darvel coming from the west to play us? Probably not.

"These last six or seven games have given us a bit of food for thought as well with the squad.

"It lets us have a look and we can come back stronger for a title challenge next season.

"We’ve still got a massive season ahead – it could be the most successful season Linlithgow has had in years.

"We have a cup final to look forward to and a quarter-final to look forward to so the guys could go and win two trophies out of four which is not a bad achievement.

"It’s just the disappointment of where we were in the league. We’ve chucked it away.

"There’s no argument about it.”

Rose – who found out last Saturday that their East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final opponents will be Gala Fairydean Rovers – host title-chasing Tranent in their penultimate league fixture of the season this Saturday.

"We will analyse Wednesday night,” Herd added. “We will have a look at it and pick the team best suited to go and win against Tranent.

"We want to finish the season as positively as we can to set us up for playing in the cup final. So we’ll be picking as strong a team as possible.”