The difference a week makes.
Although the lads are already well travelled, they would take yet another trip over the bridge to face EoS Premier League side Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts. Although the gap in divisions would suggest a really tough day at the office ahead, the boys were quietly confident throughout the week going into this one. It’s notable that training has certainly ramped up a couple of notches since our return to league business and our new signings are settling in very well. Competition for places is no doubt at an all-time high and with four players missing for the match, the strength in depth in the squad was evident once again. They’ll get bored of hearing it but leaving players out is the really tough part of being in this role and I’m happy to go on record by saying I hate it.
For the weekend’s game however it must be said that Brogie (John Brogan) and Allan (McDonald) should be taking all the plaudits as they took the team on the day. They were instrumental in orchestrating the result which would see us into the next round. And after taking the lead in little over 20 seconds through Grado (Grant Wilson), you’d expect the nerves to settle down somewhat. However for Rovers supporters there were still virtually 90 minutes plus injury time left to play.
Against teams in the top division you are always going to have to suffer a little bit more than you’d like, so at such an early stage we knew there would be more twists and turns to come. I’m not sure if you’d say surrendering your lead was either of those mind after such a positive start and I’m guessing most would have then expected the Swifts to race further in front after going ahead following the early setback. So it’s real testament to the lads that they showed composure in a difficult moment against a good side to turn it back round again. Grant Doyle, who has also individually started off his season in fine form, gets us back level sixteen minutes after falling behind proving that there’s plenty of character in that changing room.
Pleasingly, this game also saw a well anticipated Rovers debut for Mikey (Bardhi) who operated on our left hand side. For his first competitive game in quite some time we couldn’t have been any happier with his display. Ben Brown was also back to his best and we managed to get more minutes into some of the lads legs that have missed a bit of pre-season. One of which was last season’s top goalscorer Kivi (Kyle Kivlichan). I always have a feeling that if the ball drops around the box and Kyle is nearby he will hit the target. Thankfully for us after Grant Wilson smacks the post from a free kick, Kyle found himself in the right place to blast home the winner. Young Luke Maclean also turned in a magnificent display over the ninety covering every blade of fake grass, and deserves a massive pat on the back for his selfless work rate for his team mates.
From our standpoint, this hopefully gives the boys plenty of belief going forward, not that they should need it. The message is extremely clear for the group this week; we have to follow it up this time.
It’s always emotional being a Rover and we don’t apologise for it! In even better news, we also finally have our first home game of the season to look forward to on Wednesday night vs Edinburgh College. We’d love you to pop down to Whitestone Park and cheer the lads on!