Linlithgow Rose midfielder Jackie Myles has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury.
Myles, a summer signing, has yet to play a competitive match since joining the Prestonfield outfit, having appeared in just two pre-season friendlies.
Myles injured his knee in the second of those, against Cumbernauld United, and has now been told he needs an operation, effectively ending his season before it has got off the ground.
Rose boss Davie McGlynn had high hopes for Myles, who played under him at Musselburgh, and says his lengthy absence is a devastating blow for both the club and the player himself.
He said: “It’s bad news for us and for Jackie and he could be out for a year.
“He needs an operation and it’s five months before he then begins his rehab so this season is a write off.
“It’s a real shame because he’s one of the best players in the league and it would have been great to see him play at Prestonfield.
“He was the easiest signing I made in the summer because he doesn’t play for the money, he just loves to play football.”
Rose face Hill of Beath at Prestonfield on Saturday but with four defeats in their opening eight Superleague games and Kelty Hearts 15 points clear and boasting a 100 per cent record, McGlynn knows only an incredible run of victories would fire his side back into contention for the title.
He admitted: “You never say never but we have to be realistic.
“Kelty are very strong and we would have to win every game from now until the end of the season to catch them.”