Vale of Leithen boss Grant Sandison encouraged as team run Lowland League leaders Bonnyrigg Rose close

Vale of Leithen manager Grant Sandison has praised his players for running Scotland Lowland Football League leaders Bonnyrigg Rose close away from home just three days after being thumped 7-1 at home by East Stirlingshire.

Rhys Anderson on the ball for Vale of Leithen against East Stirlingshire on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Rhys Anderson on the ball for Vale of Leithen against East Stirlingshire on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The Innerleithen side conceded a goal to Shire after just 16 seconds at Victoria Park on Saturday and six more followed, with trialist Mark Deya’s counter their sole highlight.

However, the league’s bottom club competed well in Midlothian on Tuesday night before eventually going down to a 2-0 loss.

“We let ourselves down on Saturday,” Sandison said. “We were nowhere near what we expect with the team that we’ve got.

Defender Louie Grahame in possession for Vale of Leithen against East Stirlingshire (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

“I felt there was a wee bit of lack of desire and effort on Saturday, but on Tuesday it was the polar opposite.

“We managed to right a lot of wrongs from the Saturday and every one of them can be proud of their performance against a top side, a very experienced side.

“We were a lot happier with the performance. To a man, we were different class in terms of the effort and the commitment they put in.

“We’d had a good chat with the lads before the game, going over a few things and making it clear what was expected of them.

Vale of Leithen head coach Grant Sandison watching his side being beaten 7-1 by East Stirlingshire (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

“We competed with Bonnyrigg for large spells and had a couple of chances ourselves.”

First-half goals from Nathan Evans and Lee Currie, from the penalty spot, won it for Bonnyrigg at New Dundas Park after Deya missed a great chance for the visitors at 0-0.

Vale, now with one point from 19 matches, trail second-bottom Gretna 2008 by six points ahead of this Saturday’s home game against second-placed Spartans, with kick-off at 3pm.

“The way we competed against Bonnyrigg gives the boys a bit of belief,” Sandison said. “We made it difficult for them, got in their faces and created chances, so if we can put in the same level of performance, the same effort and commitment levels, I have no doubts we will pick up points in this league going forward.”

After this weekend, Vale have a three-week break before their next league game at Stirling University on Saturday, December 4, and Sandison is hoping to take advantage of that respite to add to the five new signings he has already brought in since becoming manager.