Linlithgow Rose manager Brown Ferguson has bemoaned the lengthy injury list and suspension issues which blighted his team for last Saturday’s disappointing 2-0 Premier Division defeat at Jeanfield Swifts.
Iain Gray and Kevin McKinlay were crocked and Gary Thom’s fitness concerns kept him on the bench, while Darren Smith and Owen Ronald played despite carrying heavy knocks and skipper Ruari MacLennan was banned.
Ferguson told the Journal and Gazette: “We were down to the bare bones a little bit.
“We were certainly up against it in respect of personnel and the number of people out, important players out on the day.
“A number of people were trying to get through injuries and knocks.
“I can’t really fault the players’ commitment to the game or the level of effort that they put into it.
“But I would certainly be hoping, going forward, that the quality is better.
“It’s no disrespect to Jeanfield at all but I’m hoping to make sure that Linlithgow go away to teams and it’s not even games. We are looking to try and dominate games.
“We need to see more of that going forward.”
Saturday’s defeat saw Rose pay for conceding two goals early in the second half.
Ferguson added: “It was a pretty even game over the course of it. I don’t think there was an awful lot between the two teams.
“Both teams had chances in the first period.
“They’ve hit the bar at one point and our keeper’s pulled off an excellent save.
“By the same token we’ve had three clear cut chances which you would hope we would score from.
“They scored two goals early in the second half which was disappointing from our point of view, particularly the speed in which they got the second goal.
“At times you’re going to concede and you need to make sure you can consolidate at that moment in time and you don’t concede soon afterwards.
“Obviously you want to get yourself back in the game as quickly as you can.”
The loss sees Rose down in ninth place with 15 points from 10 games, meaning they have at least one game in hand over every other team in the league bar Jeanfield.
Ferguson said: “The league table is false but obviously what we can’t do is keep conceding points to teams above us.
“I was impressed with Jeanfield, I thought they were good.
“But with every game and training session that passes by I’m obviously getting a stronger assessment on the group that are there and a stronger assessment on each player that is there individually.
“Ultimately we need to be more consistently performing at a higher level.
“That’s the challenge that’s been set to the group. On Saturday you can’t fault the effort but I would certainly expect the quality to be better.”
Linlithgow – with Ruari MacLennan back from suspension – continue their league campaign at home to Newtongrange Star this Friday evening, kick-off 7.30pm.