We’re back and it’s preview time! There are managerial shakeups, goals galore and silky football on show as the GeoSonic Lowland League returns.
KELTY HEARTS VS GALA FAIRYDEAN ROVERS
Barry Ferguson takes charge of his first Kelty Hearts match this weekend as Gala Fairydean Rovers make the trip to New Central Park.
The former Scotland captain took charge of his first training session on Tuesday ahead of his first game in management since being dismissed as Clyde boss in 2017. Kelty come into this fixture on the back of two cup exits after East Stirlingshire won 3-2 in the South Challenge Cup and Peterhead won by the same scoreline in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Gala Fairydean Rovers come into this fixture in complete contrast of form as they have won their last two games. A 3-1 victory over Spartans in their last Scottish Lowland League was followed up by a Scottish Cup triumph at home to East Stirlingshire.
Despite their cup exits, Kelty Hearts are sitting top of the Lowland League table on goal difference, with 20 points from their first nine games with only the one defeat so far away at Cumbernauld Colts.
Gala Fairydean Rovers may have had success in the cup last week but are sitting in tenth with only four wins from their first ten games, albeit have won two of their last three league games. Dean Shanks will be hoping to build on their momentum from their win over East Stirlingshire in the Scottish Cup to take forward into a game which suddenly comes with a lot of media attention due to the new man in the opposition dugout.
Saturday also marks the first time that these two sides have met in a competitive fixture and it should be absolutely fascinating.
Kelty Hearts vs Gala Fairydean Rovers is the RockSport Match of the Week this week! Craig will be at New Central Park covering the game for Sports Saturday and giving you a chance to hear from both managers. Tune in to RockSport on DAB Digital Radio or at RockSportradio.co.uk.
Ones to watch
Kelty Hearts – Errol Douglas
Gala Fairydean Rovers – Ruari Paton
BSC GLASGOW VS VALE OF LEITHEN (FRIDAY)
In-form BSC Glasgow host a Vale of Leithen side only two points behind them in a top-half clash where both sides are looking to break into the top four.
After a stuttering start to the season, Stephen Swift’s men appear to have found their groove and come into the game unbeaten in their last eight matches including an impressive 4-1 rout of Cumbernauld Colts last weekend in the Scottish Cup.
Vale haven’t had a competitive match for three weeks now, but that game was a 3-0 victory against Dalbeattie Star where the league’s top scorer Sean Stewart scored a brace to take his tally to eleven for the campaign. Since then, they have kept fresh by playing friendlies against Newtongrange Star and highly rated amateur side Hawick Waverley. Chris Anderson’s men overcame both challenges winning 3-1 on each occasion.
Ones to watch
BSC Glasgow – Thomas Orr
Vale of Leithen – Sean Stewart
SPARTANS VS EDUSPORT ACADEMY
Reigning champions The Spartans will be looking to take three points this weekend against an Edusport Academy side who have been performing fairly well recently. The hosts go into this one on the back of a Scottish Cup loss against Lowland League rivals East Kilbride.
However, they will be hoping they have enough about them to topple an Edusport team who have won three of their last five league games. Dougie Samuel’s front line have been sharing the goals around this season but the Spartans gaffer will be hoping that someone will grab the bull by the horns and pull the Ainslie Park side back toward the top of the table. Jack Smith, a summer signing from BSC Glasgow, has three for the season so far but was almost in double figures by this time last season – he’ll be looking to kickstart his season this weekend.
The visitors put up a valiant effort in the Scottish Cup last weekend, eventually going down 2-1 to Highland League Fraserburgh, and Ricky Waddell’s side will be hoping Matty Flynn can add to his four goals and help send them home with three points. Edusport have enjoyed a solid start to the season, quietly going about their business and finding themselves in sixth, just five points off the league summit.
Ones to watch
Spartans – Jack Smith
Edusport Academy – Scott McLaughlin
EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY VS CUMBERNAULD COLTS
The University side hosts third place Cumbernauld Colts this weekend after a solid few games which have seen Edinburgh University climb into seventh in the GeoSonic Lowland League.
Edinburgh University come into this game confident they take all three points at East Peffermill, coming off the back of the only Lowland League game last weekend; a 3-2 away win against Dalbeattie Star to cement their encouraging early season form. They also enjoyed a minor Edinburgh derby win when they put Edinburgh United out the South Challenge Cup the week before. No doubt spirits will be high at among Uni’s supporters this weekend.
Cumbernauld Colts travel to Edinburgh in fourth place in the league and will go into the game as favourites despite their cup exit last weekend at the hands of BSC Glasgow. Sean Brown and Fraser Team have been firing on all cylinders and go up against another in-form strike duo in Abdul Yusuf and Aidan Kemp for the Uni.
Ones to watch
Edinburgh University – Aidan Kemp
Cumbernauld Colts – Arni Bembo
CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS VS EAST KILBRIDE
Gary Jardine’s Civil Service Strollers host second place East Kilbride at Christie Gillies Park with both sides approaching the fixture in very different form.
Strollers are searching for a big win to get back up to the top half of the table. After an encouraging start to the season which saw them sitting in the top two after five matches, their form has fallen away and they currently find themselves in ninth. Their last league outing was a hugely entertaining one which ended sorely for Strollers as East Stirlingshire took the three points in a 4-3 home defeat with Shire bagging a last minute goal to take the points.
Kilby on the other hand, are coming off a huge 3-1 win over Spartans in the Scottish Cup which took them into the Third Round. However, East Kilbride are another club who have unexpectedly lost their manager. Brian Kerr has moved on to take the Assistant’s spot to Gary Caldwell at Partick Thistle, leaving Stuart Malcolm in interim charge of the club. How that affects them as they return to league duty after two weekends on cup duty remains to be seen.
Ones to watch
Civil Service Strollers – Cammy Muirhead
East Kilbride – Chris Humphrey
EAST STIRLINGSHIRE VS GRETNA 2008
East Stirlingshire host Gretna 2008 at the Falkirk Stadium with both sides locked on eleven points after ten games in the bottom half of the table.
Shire have struggled for consistency so far this season, but showed what they are capable of in the last three weeks after a thrilling 4-3 win against Civil Service Strollers was followed by a dramatic 3-2 victory against Kelty Hearts in the South Challenge Cup. However, they crashed out of the Scottish Cup last week after a 2-0 defeat against Gala Fairydean Rovers. Ross Allum has been the focal point in attack and has ten goals for the season already but player/assistant manager Andy Rodgers is the fulcrum of the Shire team and his energy will be vital in this match.
Gretna also made an exit from the Scottish Cup after they lost out 3-1 against League 2 outfit Berwick Rangers as Jamie Hope netted a consolation. Their last league fixture was a 3-1 loss to league leaders Kelty Hearts three weeks ago but Aitken & Irons’ side did enjoy four consecutive victories in all competitions prior to that.
These two sides will have had vastly different expectations at the beginning of the season, and this one promises to be a fascinating barometer for the rest of their seasons.
Ones to watch
East Stirlingshire – Andy Rodgers
Gretna 2008 – Kevin Connelly
WHITEHILL WELFARE VS UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING
Visitors University of Stirling go into this one on the back of an excellent away win to Deveronvale in the Scottish Cup, while hosts Whitehill Welfare are in horrendous form.
Whitehill have only one two of their last ten games and are currently 15th in the league. They will see this game as a vital opportunity to gain some ground on the visitors who are in 13th place, with a game in hand. Kieran Hall has been in good form for the University this season and he will be aiming to get his fifth goal of the season in this one. Whitehill will be hoping that their misfiring front line will come good in front of their home support and enable them to pick up what would be only their second win of the season.