End of an era as Linlithgow Rose move to quit juniors

Linlithgow Rose members have voted to join the junior exodus to the East of Scotland League
Linlithgow Rose members have voted to join the junior exodus to the East of Scotland League

Linlithgow Rose have confirmed their intention to quit the junior ranks and apply for membership of the Eats of Scotland League.

The decision was taken by members at a packed meeting in the club’s Prestonfield Social Club on Monday night.

It wasn’t an unanimous decision by any means with many members reluctant to turn their backs on the juniors after 129 years.

But in the end they were left with little option, their hand was forced by the moves by almost all the other big clubs in the area to follow the trail blazed by Kelty Hearts last year and move into Scottish football’s pyramid system.

Last week’s decision by local rivals Bo’ness United to apply for EoS membership was seen by many as the final decision-maker for Rose.

Monday’s meeting of members at Prestonfield decided by 60 votes to 34 to confirm their application.

Club president Wullie Scullion admitted: “It was quite an emotive meeting. There are a lot of people who have followed The Rose for many, many years and are junior minded-people.

“But with the exodus of clubs that were going it put us in a position really where we had no option.

“At the moment we are waiting to see whether the East of Scotland will accept all these clubs or whether there will be some kind of selection.”

Moving out of the juniors ends an era which established Rose as one of the top clubs in the history of the junior game.

They have lifted the Scottish Junior Cup four times, more than any other East club with only Auchinleck Talbot, Cambuslang Rangers and Petershill among current clubs having won it more.

Rose have also won 16 East Region league titles, 14 East of Scotland Cups and 16 Fife and Lothian Cups.

The East of Scotland League is due to meet on Thursday night to discuss the new applications and how to restructure or accommodate them.

But whatever happens Rose’s players will have just a four-week break before they’re back in action when Hibernian, preparing for the Europa League, arrive at Prestonfield for a fre-season friendly.

Willie said: “Our players need a rest, but it was a game we didn’t want to turn down because it’s their first team that’s coming out.

“It goes back to the facilities we have at Prestonfield and the fact they wanted to come and play us is obviously a feather in our cap.”