Lowland League Preview – Matchday 22

We’re back again! 8 games, 8 previews, transfer news and much more


civil service strollers vs kelty hearts

By Ronan Alexander

Having won three of their last four Lowland League matches, Civil Service Strollers are the next side to attempt to take points off league leaders Kelty Hearts.

Strollers were 1-0 winners away to Spartans last time out at the beginning of the month but have had three matches postponed since mid-December. However, Gary Jardine’s men kept themselves ticking over as they took on League One side East Fife, but lost out 1-0.

On loan Strollers striker Ryan Shanley signed a new contract with Hibernian this week as he looks to build on his bright future.

Meanwhile at Kelty, the league leaders are now six points clear of Bonnyrigg Rose after coming from behind to defeat Gala last Saturday.

Barry Ferguson bolstered his squad this week with the addition of eperienced right back Craig Reid from East Kilbride.

Ones to watch

Civil Service Strollers – Ryan Shanley

Kelty Hearts – Stephen Husband

Gala Fairydean Rovers vs Gretna 2008

By Martin Fleming

The Galashiels men host a slightly in-form Gretna 2008 at Netherdale as yet another fixture highlights how tight the bottom six really is.

Last weekend, Neil Hastings’ looked to perhaps cause one of the upsets of the season. By half-time, a singular goal by Danny Galbraith put the home side 1-0 up over league leaders Kelty Hearts, however, it wasn’t to be as Kelty secured a comeback and took the three points in that 2-1 fixture. With nine points between themselves and 13th place Gretna, a win this weekend could allow them to sneak into the 11th position overtaking the struggling Berwick Rangers.

Gretna 2008, despite their poor position and lowly eleven points, actually remain unbeaten since the end of December. Since defeating Cumbernauld Colts at Broadwood, Rowan Alexander’s men have secured two points with two draws over Dalbeattie Star and Berwick Rangers last weekend. That 73rd minute equaliser by Dean Watson could help their confidence in keeping the unbeaten run going and really cementing a position away from the relegation fighters.

Ones to Watch

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Danny Galbraith

Gretna 2008 – Dean Watson

the spartans vs university of stirling

By Euan Fairley

Spartans and Stirling Uni meet for the second time in a week after their disappointing 0-0 draw at Forthbank last Saturday. As chance would have it the rearranged fixture was finally played a week before the reverse fixture, making this fixture almost like a second leg. Although it is a repeat, it does provide both teams with another 90 minutes to break the deadlock of the first fixture.

Spartans arrive on the back of two straight defeats to the teams directly above them in the league, which ended any realistic chance of a title challenge. On a more positive note their strikers Aaron Murrell and Blair Atkinson continue to be a regular source of goals for the Ainslie Park side and will be considered key to their chances of victory.

Stirling Uni sit 10th in the league and are in the midst of a fairly inconsistent season, which is generally to be expected of such a young side. One of those older heads is Player/Manager Chris Geddes who made his first appearance in a year last weekend and who could help to solve Uni’s lack of goals, with only the league’s bottom four teams having scored less.

Ones to watch

Spartans – Blair Atkinson

Stirling Uni – Angus Mailer

caledonian braves vs bsc glasgow

By Ronan Alexander

Seventh place Caledonian Braves welcome BSC Glasgow who come into the game on a huge high of making it to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup.

Stephen Swift’s side defeated East Kilbride 3-1 last Saturday to set up a tie with either Dundee United or Hibernian that will be shown live on BBC Scotland.  Should it be the Tangerines, it will be on Friday 7th February but if the Hibees progress the game will be played on Sunday 9th February at noon.

Caley Braves have won two of their last five league matches but were also defeated by Dalbeattie Star in cup action last weekend.  Ricky Waddell will be pleased to add Jack Breslin back to his squad tomorrow after a lengthy injury lay off. They will also be aiming to right the wrong of losing 6-1 to BSC in the return fixture earlier this season.

BSC will be hoping the feel good factor around the club will continue as they look to stay within touching distance of Kelty Hearts, despite a narrow defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose in their last league fixture.

Ones to watch

Caledonian Braves – Neil McLaughlin

BSC Glasgow – Jamie McCormack

berwick rangers vs east kilbride

By Craig Edwards

East Kilbride head south as they make the trip to face Berwick Rangers.

Kilby’s Scottish Cup journey came to an end last weekend at home to BSC Glasgow and will turn their attention back to trying to move up the table.

Defenders Craig Reid and Bernard Coll have left during the week to Kelty Hearts and Forfar Athletic but the visitors have won their last three league games.

Berwick Rangers continue to adjust to life in the Lowland League and currently sit in eleventh, eight points adrift of tenth but with two games in hand.

Berwick have drawn their last two matches and are unbeaten in three but will be without key man Kevin Waugh who picked up a hamstring injury last weekend. Former Berwick duo Daryl Healy and Ricky Miller make their return to Shielfield Park, but this time in East Kilbride colours.

East Kilbride came out on top in a five goal thriller at K Park earlier in the season and both sides need the points to move up the table.

Ones to watch

Berwick Rangers – Lewis Barr

East Kilbride – Craig Malcolm

Vale of Leithen vs East Stirlingshire

By Damon Main

The best laid plans that often go awry will be a sentiment known to just about every single manager in the Scottish Lowland League.  No matter how carefully tactics are planned, something may still go wrong.  And certainly those poetic words seem to ring true for Vale of Leithen this season.

Sitting near the bottom of the Lowland League on a paltry 8 points the Innerleithen side are in trouble. And, if they are to take anything from this Burns day fixture, astute match plans will be required come the referees opening whistle if they are to take a firmer step away from the bottom of the table.

All hope is not lost, of course, and the visit of East Stirlingshire this week to the Scottish borders may not be as forboding a fixture as it sounds.    The Falkirk side has struggled of late despite a promising start and the home loss to University of Stirling will possibly turn out to be be pivotal as to whether they can still mount a title challenge.

It is at the back where Vale of Leithen have real problems with the side sitting on -61 after just 20 games.

With ‘Shire having ample fire power and a positive goal difference of +35 it would be a shock if East Stirlingshire did not go back to Falkirk with anything else than the full three points. Shire will be boosted by the fact Reis Peggie and Marty Orr have agreed new contracts. Meanwhile, Jamie Gallagher has departed the club.

Ones to watch

Vale of Leithen – Murray Hand

East Stirlingshire – Nicky Low

edinburgh university vs cumbernauld colts

By Craig Edwards

Edinburgh University aim to move off the foot of the table as they welcome Cumbernauld Colts to East Peffermill.

The Uni side picked up a point in their last game away to University of Stirling but have struggled at home with their last win at home back in August against Vale of Leithen.

The students currently sit a point adrift of Vale of Leithen and four away from Dalbeattie Star.

Cumbernauld Colts sit in ninth and are only a point away from seventh and picked up their first win in five matches last time out at home to Dalbeattie Star.

The Colts have won two of their past four away matches while goals are almost guaranteed, the last 0-0 involving Cumbernauld was back in August.

Cumbernauld won the earlier fixture 4-1 at Broadwood in October.

Ones to watch

Edinburgh University – Abdul Yusuf

Cumbernauld Colts – Max Ashmore

dalbeattie star vs bonnyrigg rose

By Ronan Alexander

Dalbeattie Star aim to end their nine match winless run in the Lowland League when they welcome title chasing Bonnyrigg Rose to Islecroft Stadium tomorrow.

Robbie Horn’s Rose were narrowly knocked out the Scottish Cup last weekend against Clyde, but Kelty being in league action has now opened up a six point gap at the top of the table that Rose will be keen to close.

Star did get that winning feeling last Saturday when they defeated Caledonian Braves 1-0 in the Southern Counties Cup, courtesy of an 88th minute Lewis Sloan winner. They will be hoping that clean sheet and victory in the cup can be translated into the league.

Bonnyrigg’s have overcome two tough away ties recently, having won away to BSC Glasgow and East Kilbride.

Ones to watch

Dalbeattie Star – Lewis Sloan

Bonnyrigg Rose – Lee Currie