Bonnyrigg Rose crowned Lowland League champions as Robbie Horn salutes his men

Bonnyrigg Rose celebrates her Lowland League title. Photo: Joe Gilhooley LRPS

Sixteen points ahead of second-placed Celtic B and we’re not even halfway through March. The New Dundas Park side have been the most successful in the fifth tier of Scottish football. Robbie Horn’s men have amassed 80 points from a possible 90 in what is quite an incredible comeback for former Junior Super League powerhouses.

Saturday’s 4-1 triumph over Berwick Rangers at sunny Shielfield Park, boosted by loud traveling support, secured a first league crown since joining the pyramid scheme in 2018. After cruising to the east of the Scottish Premier Division title Nine months earlier, Rose’s debut campaign in the Lowland League saw them finish runners-up after the 2019/2020 season was halted due to the Covid pandemic. And a truncated 2020/2021 format saw them once again come close to Kelty Hearts, who last year earned promotion to win the SPFL League Two with a 3-1 aggregate win over Brechin City.

This one will be special for Rose who will now be looking to end the season in ruthless fashion. They have four league games left, trips to Dalbeattie Star, Rangers B and East Kilbride. East Stirlingshire will be Midlothian’s final opponent next month.

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Manager Horn, in his second stint with the club, has assembled a hugely talented squad who are ready to walk on broken glass for each other. There haven’t been any big changes in the past two years, just a few additions here and there.

“The players deserve great credit and the guys who arrived have integrated into the team very well,” said Horn. “They’re a great group of boys and people want to be part of that group. The atmosphere they’ve created in the locker room is great, so I’m absolutely thrilled for them.

“I’ve had a lot of texts and messages over the past few weeks saying well done, but obviously I feel right now that we’ve finally made it.

The last two seasons have been really difficult with Covid and we felt we had opportunities, but that just wasn’t the case.

“I think we put pressure on ourselves to be honest because we wanted to be up there and ultimately win the league. I can’t thank the fans enough who made the trip to Berwick on Saturday, they were absolutely magnificent. “

As the dust settles this week, it would be unrealistic for those linked to the club not to keep a close eye on what is happening in the north. Rose will need to negotiate a two-man play-off against the Highland League winners if they are to earn a direct shootout for promotion against the side that finish bottom of League Two, currently Cowdenbeath.

Fraserburgh are in pole position to meet Rose but are only one point ahead of Buckie Thistle and Brechin with Brora Rangers two points clearer. There are sure to be a few twists and turns over the next few weeks as their season nears its peak.

Rose is hoping to keep the momentum that has seen them head and shoulders above the rest. If they can, Ligue 2 football next season is a real possibility.

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