'I always felt we could catch the leaders' - Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd reveals winning mentality after his team go top of league

Just six months after inheriting a mid table team which was a considerable margin behind the league leaders, Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd has steered his team to the summit of the East of Scotland Premier Division after a fantastic run.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 7:24 pm
Gordon Herd (left) and assistant John Miller have had an incredible impact since taking over at Rose in August
Gordon Herd (left) and assistant John Miller have had an incredible impact since taking over at Rose in August

Herd’s men defeated Crossgates Primrose 5-2 at home on Saturday – their 21st consecutive win in league and cup – to go two points clear of long time leaders Penicuik Athletic whose scheduled game at Hill of Beath Hawthorn was postponed.

"I think it was a 15-point gap when we started,” Herd told the Journal and Gazette.

"I think at the start if you had listened to what I said I felt that we could catch the leaders.

"Was that me maybe being a wee bit over confident? Possibly, but we needed to get it instilled into the boys that there was still a league there to win.

"And like I keep saying, it’s all credit to the guys for how they’ve responded.

"They’ve been absolutely magnificent and it’s a testament to them that they’ve won 21 games on the bounce, it’s massive.

"We have got ourselves in a good position but nothing’s won in February. It's just up to us to hold onto that spot.

"We’ve got 10 cup finals left so it’s going to be massive.”

Saturday’s win over Crossgates was far from straightforward, despite Linlithgow going 2-0 up thanks to Sean Heaver’s brilliant run and shot in the first half and Mark Stowe’s left foot effort from distance after the interval.

Calum Smith scrambled home following a corner to make it 2-1, before Lewis Payne restored Rose’s two-goal cushion.

It was 3-2 when Brian Ritchie headed in following a Crossgates free-kick, but the visitors’ task was made harder when Andy McDonald was sent off for a last man foul.

Rose sealed the win with late strikes by Alan Sneddon and Cammy Thomson.

“Crossgates are a good side,” Herd said. “We created a lot of chances but to be fair to Crossgates they did cause us a few problems as well.

"They’ve got experience there that can hurt you with Smith and Ritchie, and wee Archie Campbell there too.

"So we knew offensively they were going to give us problems. But we scored five goals, you would have taken that at the start of the game and it puts us top of the league which is another milestone.”