'If we keep winning we’ll win the league' - Linlithgow Rose boss Gordon Herd buoyant after 17th straight win in league and cup
Form team Linlithgow Rose look a fair bet for East of Scotland Premier Division title glory this season after closing to within a point of leaders Penicuik Athletic after 22 games thanks to last Saturday’s 2-1 success at Tynecastle.
Linlithgow’s 17th straight win in league and cup – thanks to Connor McMullan’s first half headed goal and Lewis Payne’s late opportunist strike either side of a Taylor Hendry penalty awarded for Gary Thom’s foul on Luke Kennedy – came while leaders Cuikie were losing 3-0 at home to third placed Tranent Juniors.
“We knew Saturday was a big game for us,” Herd said. “We had beaten Tynecastle 8-0 at Prestonfield so we knew that they were going to sit in and make it difficult for us.
"Plus they are a good side, Tynecastle. I think they’ve taken points off Penicuik and Tranent this season so we knew it was a tough one.
"It was our first competitive game in a few weeks. And it’s a very big pitch so the distances between the midfield and the attack and the midfield and defence were quite big.
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"We just went down there and ground out the win.
"And obviously with what was happening down at Penicuik we had an eye on that as well so it was a big result for us.
"It’s a long season. Penicuik and Tranent had put a bit of ground between themselves and us early on and we’ve done well to catch it up.
"They will maybe be feeling the pressure, I don’t know. But we’re just focusing on what we’ve got to do.
"We’re not really bothered about anybody else. We know if we keep winning we’ll win the league.”
Herd was delighted to see Payne score the winner after recovering from a long term knee injury and – more recently – coronavirus.
"Lewis came in and he’d scored something like four goals in three games and then he got what looked like was going to be a bad injury down at Newtongrange (on November 27).
"But he has recovered really well from that and then he had a wee bout of Covid.
"So he’s been kind on in and out but it was his first game back and his workrate was excellent. He missed a chance just before then but he was in the right place at the right time to get us the winner and a vital three points.”