Dinner celebrates one of Scotland’s oldest junior clubs

1965 Scottish Junior Cup winners
1965 Scottish Junior Cup winners

Current and former players, past management, sponsors, committee members, long-serving supporters and local dignitaries were all eager to attend.

But pride of place went to the players who represented the Rose when the club won the first of its four Scottish Junior Cup titles back in 1965 – 50 years ago.

One of Scotland’s oldest junior clubs, the team was formed in 1889 after a group of local football enthusiasts got together to play at Captain’s Park.

From there they moved to Mains Park in 1914 and then Lower Mains Park in 1930 before taking up residence at Prestonfield Stadium from 1947 onwards. At the time, the club bought the land at Braehead for just £150.

Following an abeyance of 10 years due to World War Two, the Rose played their first home game at their new ground against Broxburn Athletic on August 5, 1949, in front of a 3000 crowd. They lost the match, however, 4-1.

That record crowd stood until 1965 when 3535 crammed in to watch the Rose in a fifth round Scottish Junior Cup tie against Shettleston Juniors.

That was beaten a few years later when 3626 watched a junior cup tie against Petershill, a record crowd to this day.

In the years since, major improvements have been made to the ground and its facilities with the addition of a social club in 1973, floodlights in 1990, a 310-seater David Roy Stand in 2001 and, most recently, the club attaining membership to the Scottish Football Association in 2013.

But it’s on the park that the club has excelled – winning no less than 82 trophies over the years including four Scottish Junior Cups, 13 East of Scotland League Championships, three East Super League Championships titles, 14 East of Scotland Cups, 17 Fife and Lothian Cups and 10 St Michael’s Cups.

The club also qualified for the senior Scottish Cup on four occasions – in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

To date, the Rose has produced 35 Scotland junior internationalists but probably their best-ever signing was Tommy Walker in 1931 from juvenile side Broxburn Ibrox for £3/2 shillings (£3.10) and a new pair of boots.

Two seasons later Walker signed for Hearts for £35 and he went on to be a legend, both with that team and as a Scottish internationalist, earning 21 caps.

At the celebration dinner, Rose president Les Donaldson outlined a brief history of the club and the continued generosity of the club’s major sponsors, ACLhire.com, and Friends of Linlithgow Rose supporters’ group, which has raised more than £24,000 in the past four years.

The evening concluded with entertainment from after-dinner speakers, former Hearts and Celtic defender Tosh McKinlay and comedian Robbie Carron.

Here’s to the next 125 years!