Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd assesses the East of Scotland Premier Division title run-in

Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd believes East of Scotland Premier Division crown will be won by the team who handles setbacks better than the rest.

By Craig Goldthorp
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 2:24 pm

A three-pronged battle for the title now has leaders Penicuik on 63 points with seven games left, Linlithgow second – also with seven matches remaining – and Tranent Juniors in third with 62 points and eight fixtures to play.

Despite losing 3-1 at strugglers Hill of Beath on Saturday, the race could not be closer after rivals Penicuik Athletic were beaten 4-1 at Jeanfield Swifts on Wednesday night.

After their incredible recent run of 21 consecutive victories, Linlithgow have stuttered, with three league and cup defeats out of their last four fixtures, the latest being a 3-1 home loss to Sauchie in the South Region Challenge Cup fifth round on Tuesday night, when two men were sent off.

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“We’ve had a couple of defeats, we’re a young side and it can knock their confidence,” Herd told the Linlithgow Gazette.

“And we’re at the business end of the season as well so a game at Hill of Beath – who are fighting relegation – is always going to be a tough ask.

"We’re probably going to get knocks in the last six, seven, eight games and I think the championship will be decided upon who handles it.

"Penicuik were beaten at Jeanfield on Wednesday night, so I think there are still a few twists and turns to come.

"We are still to play Penicuik once and Tranent twice. All three teams have hard games coming up.

"We have a couple of wee niggles and suspensions but there were positives from Tuesday. We went down to nine men but we were very resolute.”

Herd had no complaints about red cards dished out to skipper Gary Thom and defender Dan Baur for retaliation and foul and abusive language respectively, during Tuesday night’s 3-1 home South Region Challenge Cup fifth round defeat against Sauchie.

With the game level at 1-1 after Brian Morgan’s early shot for Sauchie was equalised by Cammy Thomson’s header, Thom and Baur were both dismissed in quick succession.

A dramatic tie continued with the visitors’ Will Greenhorn also receiving his marching orders for a second booking before the away team went on to win 3-1, thanks to Morgan’s second and a strike by Sam Collumbine in the final minute.

Herd told GlasgowWorld Sport: "Gary Thom has reacted to a player pulling him. He’s had a hold of Gary’s shirt and Gary’s tried to shrug him off but he’s used an elbow to do it.

"So I have no complaints about Gary’s sending off but you expect more from your captain, although Gary’s been excellent for us so we can’t really be too hard on him.

"Dan Baur’s is foul and abusive language, which we have no complaints over.

"Dan has asked the boy to get up and then used a few foul words to do it. The referee’s picked up on that and he’s sent him off. Dan’s unlucky, it’s an off the cuff comment.

"Referees these days are following the rulebook to the letter of the law, so that’s why Dan walked.”

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