It’s game on!

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BOTH Linlithgow Rose and Bo’ness United continued their pre-season preparations this week with the first friendly games taking place.

Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley was delighted with his new rearguard following his side’s 5-1 demolition of Falkirk Juniors.

Goals from Shirra, McArthur, Manson and a Smith brace handed the Rose a convincing win in this pre-season friendly.

However, Bradley admitted it was not all plain sailing. “We started off very slowly, and they had most of the possession and play for the first 10 to 15 minutes,” he said.

“We then fell a goal behind and that seemed to wake us up, I’m pleased with how we dominated the match after that.”

Bradley has brought in three new faces so far this close season, and hopes to add one more before the side’s first competitive game on August 8.

“We haven’t made major changes but the problem has been it has all been in the one area, defence,” Bradley said. “I was pleased with how the new defence played against Falkirk. They worked hard.”

Bradley’s men now face a Northern challenge this Saturday when they host Highland League outfit Formartine United.

Bradley knows Formartine’s manager, Steven Paterson from their playing days, and is sure his side will face fierce competition.

“Stevie will have them well organised and working hard. The Highland League has a very high standard of teams so this will be a step up for us and a good test.”

The side will head into the new season looking for silverware and Bradley has his eye on a league and cup double. “A team like Linlithgow Rose should always have ambition, no matter who the manager is. I knew that when I came here.

“We’ve got to be looking at trying to win the league this season and the Scottish Junior cup.

“The prize is a place in next season’s senior Scottish Cup which will help generate revenue for this club.”

*BO’NESS United boss Paul Ronald had to feature on the bench for Wednesday night’s friendly at Whitehill Welfare, with his squad depleted due to injuries and holidays.

The gaffer also had to bring in two trialists on the day, rather than cancel the fixture.

While Bo’ness lost 3-1 to their eastern opponents Ronald was glad of the match practice it 
provided.

“The important thing for me is to try and get the rustiness out of them,” he said. “They have done the training and have done the work on their legs and energy levels.

“It was worth it for that. That’s how you see progress.”

He added: “You never want to lose any game. We just have to accept it for what it was.

“We got through it and I didn’t have to run on.”

Ian Nimmo was out with bruising to his hip and Stewart 
Devine with a sprained ankle, both sustained in training.

They could be in contention for Saturday’s visit to Ashfield in Glasgow tomorrow, Saturday (ko 2.15pm) but it could take up to three weeks for Will Snowdon - who needs knee treatment - to return.

Ronald will not rush them back too soon, however, nor risk any problems with the others.

“The lads like to get 90 minutes in but maybe that’s a bit too much for them in the first couple of games.”

He was pleased no injuries were picked up in the Whitehill clash, watched by a good travelling support.

As for his thoughts on the team’s performance, the boss said: “Some did better than others and some looked rustier than others.

“Some are at the early stages and need to get a bit fitter for the start of the season.

“But we are still a good four weeks away from that.

“But it points it out to them and shows them where they are in relation to game fitness. Hopefully they will shape up.”

Tomorrow’s opponent’s are a West Super League side - promoted from the first division last year - and League Cup winners, whom Ronald says will be a strong outfit.

*Ronald confirmed he still hopes to bring in a couple of additional players, with the defence and midfield areas the focus.