Summer break has been short but sweet for Linlithgow Rose

New Linlithgow signing Kevin McKinlay
New Linlithgow signing Kevin McKinlay

The close season has been a short one to say the least for Linlithgow Rose – but has been a lot smoother in terms of squad changes, writes Ian MacLean.

Unlike the massive overhaul carried out by Mark Bradley 12 months ago, following the flirtation with relegation, changes have been kept to a minimum.

Former Berwick Rangers defender Kevin McKinlay and Kirkintilloch Rob Roy striker Kevin Watt have been drafted in, with keeper Darren Hill and defender Stewart Devine the main departures.

A replacement for Hill is still being sought but, other than that, it’s likely to be a familiar looking squad which embarks on Rose’s first season as an East of Scotland club.

But Prestonfield has still been a busy place during the summer, thanks mainly to the opportunity to play Hibernian in a glamour friendly last month.

Club president Jon Mahoney said: “To some extent, the Hibs game felt like it came at the back end of last season.

“The boys have had quite a disrupted close season because they had to come in for four sessions before the Hibs game, then had 10 days off, and back into training for the Kelty game.

“They’ve not had a huge amount of rest but I don’t think any of them would have swapped that for the option of not playing.

“It was a fantastic day. We had nearly 2200 people in the ground and it went really smoothly.

“Hibs had a very strong team out and I think our performance was exceptional.

“I was really proud of the lads and of the whole club, not just on the pitch but off the pitch. We responded really well.”

The build-up to the new season continues for Linlithgow Rose with two friendlies against West Region sides this week.

On Saturday, they travel to Rutherglen to face Rutherglen Glencairn at the Celsius Stadium, kick-off 2pm.

And on Tuesday night, they will be at Duncansfield Park to take on Kilsyth Rangers in what has become a regular pre-season date for the Prestonfield club.

Both Glencairn and Kilsyth will play in the new West Region Championship.