Lowland League Preview – Matchday 23

We’re entering the final third of the season with points becoming more and more crucial. Here’s what’s coming on Saturday!


By Craig Edwards

Bonnyrigg Rose travel to Forthbank Stadium aiming to keep the pressure on Kelty Hearts at the top of the Lowland League table.

Rose are currently six points behind Kelty but have two games in hand on the league leaders and progressed in the East of Scotland Cup in midweek against Bo’ness United however, needed a late goal to beat Dalbeattie Star last weekend as they bounced back from defeat to Clyde in the Scottish Cup.

The University side are tenth in the table but victory could see them move up to eighth in a congested midtable.

Stirling has been a tough place to go in recent weeks as they are unbeaten in three at home.

Bonnyrigg have won in Stirling already this season in the East of Scotland Cup while the previous league meeting between the two ended in a 5-1 victory for Rose and Bonnyrigg will hope for a similar result to keep their title charge on track.

Ones to watch

University of Stirling – Craig Brown

Bonnyrigg Rose – Jamie Docherty

east kilbride vs gala fairydean rovers

By Gregor Mackintosh

East Kilbride host Gala Fairydean Rovers this weekend at K-Park as they look to push on and finish in a strong league position. East Kilbride were in action last week and managed to defeat Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park thanks to goals from Craig Malcolm and on-loan Celtic starlet Kieran McGrath which perhaps improved the feeling around the club after the Scottish Cup exit to BSC Glasgow. The striking duo of Craig Malcolm and Ruari Paton should be able to carry on their goalscoring form which has seen them tally 10 league goals each so far this season.

Gala Fairydean Rovers have opened 2020 strongly after recording 7 points from a possible 12 with wins over Gretna 2008 and Caledonian Braves, a draw to Berwick Rangers and a narrow 2-1 loss to league leaders Kelty Hearts. Gala Fairydean can look to Zander Murray and Danny Galbraith to try and dismantle the East Kilbride defence with both men in fine form this season, netting 7 and 6 goals each respectively. A win for Gala could help consolidate a respectable mid table finish.

Ones to watch

East Kilbride – Kieran McGrath

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Zander Murray

bsc glasgow vs berwick rangers

By Martin Fleming

Ian Little’s men the travel from England to Alloa a week before BSC Glasgow’s biggest game of their history – their Scottish Cup tie against Hibernian. However, their current focus will need to be another crucial three points over Berwick Rangers, especially after their tightly contested match back in November.

With Kelty Hearts and Bonnyrigg Rose continuing to win their games, BSC Glasgow are struggling to take that fight into the top two so all points gained is vital for a tight end to the season. Last week, a comfortable 4-1 win over Caledonian Braves allowed them to secure the double over the Alliance Park for this season, but their last outing against Berwick Rangers was not as comfortable. Only a penalty from Thomas Collins was able to win the game at Shielfield back in November so BSC will not take the Black and Gold lightly when they visit The Indodrill.

Berwick haven’t won a game since the end of December defeating Caledonian Braves 1-0. Since then they have only managed two draws and suffered a 2-0 defeat last weekend at the hands of East Kilbride. Falling to 12th, any points gained will help their underwhelming first campaign in the Lowland League.

Ones to Watch

BSC Glasgow – Michael Anderson

Berwick Rangers – Grant Rose

East Stirlingshire vs Dalbeattie Star

By Gregor Mackintosh

Dalbeattie Star make the long journey up from Kirkcudbrightshire to Falkirk this weekend to take on East Stirlingshire at the Falkirk Stadium.

Dalbeattie sit in 14th place in the Lowland League and will be in a desperate search for points to escape the relegation battle ensuing now that we have entered the final third of the season. Dalbeattie have to look back to earlier this month for the last time they gained points in a match, as they drew with Gretna 2008 1-1 on January 4th but have lost every game since, narrowly losing 1-0 to Bonnyrigg Rose last weekend. Dalbeattie will look to finish the season strongly and will hope to avenge the 4-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of The Shire earlier in the season.

East Stirlingshire return to the Falkirk Stadium this weekend and will look to make it 2 wins in 2 weeks after dispatching of Vale of Leithen 3-0 last weekend. The Shire have been busy resigning during January with Jamie Dishington, Nicky Low, Martin Orr, Sean Brown and Reis Peggie all resigned for the 2020/21 season while Jamie Gallagher, Matthew Flynn and Bobby Barr have all left the club as they head to Troon FC, Kelty Hearts and Forfar Athletic respectively. Shire will look to do the league double over Dalbeattie and generate a strong patch of form to end the season on.

Ones to watch

East Stirlingshire – Andy Rodgers

Dalbeattie Star – Lewis Sloan

kelty hearts vs caledonian braves

By Ben McNicol

Caledonian Braves are the next side to face the tough task of getting anything from New Central Park, as they face top of the league Kelty Hearts on Saturday afternoon.

Barry Ferguson’s men overcame a difficult task at Christie Gilles Park last weekend against a highflying Civil Service Strollers side. The Marroon Machine looked to be cruising, with three penalties having the league leaders 3-0 up, but two quickfire goals towards the end set up a nervy finish in the Capital, but Kelty managed to hang on and move six points clear of Bonnyrigg Rose.

Caley Braves have a mixed bunch of result on the road, winning three of their last nine. They have had some convincing wins against Gretna, Spartans and Vale Of Leithen, however its fair to say they will need to play a blinder if they want to have any chance of beating a Kelty side who have lost at home since April last year and have scored 54 goals in 10 home games this season.

Ones to watch

Kelty Hearts – Scott Linton

Caledonian Braves – Craig Quinn

edinburgh university vs the spartans

By Damon Main

Last weekend’s result against Cumbernauld Colts may well just turn out to be the pivotal result of the season for the student side.  With Colts having a rare off day, Edinburgh University capitalised on the one clear chance offered to take the three points via a 1-0 win thanks to Paddy Baird’s strike.

The shear joy and relief expressed by the home side at the referee’s whistle showed evidence of a side under pressure.

It will be different however against a strong Spartans side but this North v South Edinburgh derby is a chance for University to show that they can punch above their weight against the key sides above them in the table.

Fellow academic side Stirling had a two goal lead against Spartans last week and while Edinburgh will be buoyed by that fact, their hopes may well be tempered by the fact that Spartans came back from that deficit to win 3-2.

The dangermen this Saturday surely will once again be the two lethal strikers from last Saturday; namely Atkinson and Baird with the latter hoping that home advantage will give his side that little bit of an edge.

Ones to watch

Edinburgh University – Patrick Baird

The Spartans – Blair Atkinson

civil service strollers vs gretna 2008

By Martin Fleming

6th placed Civil Service Strollers host Gretna 2008 who sit in a lowly 13th place position. Despite the positions, both teams have fared well in recent weeks and this game could be tighter than anticipated.

Gary Jardine’s Strollers defeated Spartans 1-0 in their North Edinburgh derby at the start of the month and last weekend came within inches of an insane comeback against league leaders Kelty Hearts. Despite Barry Ferguson’s men going 3-0 up, the Edinburgh side somehow secured two late goals with 10 men but couldn’t break through and cement an equaliser.

Up until last weekend, Rowan Alexander’s squad were sitting undefeated since before Christmas. A victory over Cumbernauld Colts followed by a pair of draws over Dalbeattie Star and Berwick Rangers confirmed a return to good form, however last weekend they suffered a 4-1 defeat thanks to Gala Fairydean Rovers. The Raydale men will be anxious to return to their point winning ways to climb away from the bottom three.

Ones to Watch

Civil Service Strollers – Josh Morris

Gretna 2008 – Daniel Smales

cumbernauld colts vs vale of leithen

By Ronan Alexander

After failing to defeat the side bottom of the league last weekend, Cumbernauld Colts have the chance to right that wrong by facing new basement club Vale of Leithen at Broadwood tomorrow.

Colts sit 9th in the table and have Stirling Uni breathing down their necks, but Craig McKinlay and James Orr’s side will be looking above them as three points could see them leapfrog Caledonian Braves who have the tough task of travelling away to league leaders Kelty Hearts.

The hosts have lost 4 of their last 5 however, and will be aiming to get out of their slump and hope top scorer Marty Wright can start hitting the back of the net again.

Chris Anderson’s side lost 3-0 to East Stirlingshire last time out but will be encouraged by the fact they came from 2-0 down with 10 men to draw 2-2 with Cumbernauld in the reverse fixture. Only three points split the bottom four clubs and points in games like this for the Borders side will be crucial in their quest for survival.

Ones to watch

Cumbernauld Colts – Ross Kavanagh

Vale of Leithen – Ger Rossi