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Highland League: Rothes captain Bruce Milne happy to pen new contract

Rothes captain Bruce Milne.
Rothes captain Bruce Milne.

Rothes captain Bruce Milne insists extending his stay with the Highland League challengers was an easy one.

Club skipper Milne has extended his stay at Mackessack Park until 2023 earlier this week and hailed the impact Ross Jack has had on the club since becoming manager towards the end of 2019.

Milne joined from Keith in 2017 and has made 91 appearances for the club. He became the first Rothes captain to lift silverware in more than 40 years in October when the Speysiders won the Highland League Cup.

Rothes have made steady progress over the last few years, going from league whipping boys to top-four contenders and looking for silverware.

Milne said: “The chairman phoned me on the Sunday and it was signed on the Monday. It was a really easy decision to make.

“When I left Keith (for Rothes), it was because of the ambition of the club. They wanted to go and win things. Winning the League Cup was massive and things are going well in the league.

“It’s a really enjoyable club to be around and there’s a feel-good factor around the place. There’s a good mix of experienced boys and young players and the manager has brought all that together.

“The last year or so with the manager has unbelievable. We’ve only lost five or six times. It had been steady improvements until he came in and then it sky-rocketed.

“For years, Rothes have been whipping boys, so it’s a massive step up being in the top four. We need to bide up there – we want to be challenging for stuff.”

Bruce Milne with Rothes manager Ross Jack.

The 32-year-old has also turned out for Forres Mechanics and Clach during his Highland League career.

He cites the 2-1 win over Buckie Thistle in October, which saw Rothes lift their first trophy in 41 years, as the most memorable moment of his time with the club.

Milne added: “You saw what it means to folk in Rothes – people who have never seen their club lift anything an,d even the people that have, have maybe only seen one trophy.

“It’s massive and, although we want to be up there challenging, it could be long enough before we win something again.

“I think we needed a trophy. A lot gets spoken about wages and the money spent at Rothes, but winning a trophy takes us up to that next level.”

With the Highland League on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions, Milne does not have a great deal of optimism of the season resuming.

It was initially put on hold for the remainder of this month, but with government restrictions extended into the middle of February, it seems unlikely they will get the go-ahead to resume soon.

Milne said: “The virus is pretty rife just now, so I can’t see us getting back in the next two or three weeks. The best thing would probably be to call it and start next season early.

“But I’m not too sure. I think we’re all hoping to get back training, but we’ll have to see what happens with that.”

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