Lowland League Preview – Matchday 27

We’re back after a wee break and what a weekend we’ve got in store. Read all about it

bsc glasgow vs cumbernauld colts

By Martin Fleming

Stephen Swift’s men host Cumbernauld Colts at the Indodrill on Friday night and BSC will look for revenge on Colts as well as a bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to East Kilbride last weekend.

The home side were dealt a rare loss last weekend as they travelled to K-Park and were brought back down to Earth hard after their Scottish Cup dream. Looking like a shadow of their recent self, East Kilbride were able to secure two goals in the opening ten minutes. A brace from Sean Winter and a red card for BSC’s Ross Smith helped cement an important win for the defending champions. With their only other loss in the league being against Friday night’s opponents, BSC Glasgow will look for revenge on Colts as well to rectify last weekend’s performance.

Colts sit 8th in the table on the same points as East Kilbride – last weekend Colts were able to grab a crucial win over University of Stirling. First half goals from William Mortimer and Michael Cunningham settled an important three points for the side as they hope to climb further up the table and do the double over BSC Glasgow.

Players to Watch

BSC Glasgow – Robbie McNab

Cumbernauld Colts – Michael Cunningham

the spartans vs vale of leithen

By Gregor Mackintosh

Vale of Leithen make the journey from Innerleithen to the capital to take on Spartans under the floodlights on Friday night, as they look to claim some vital points in their race against time to escape relegation from the Scottish Lowland League.

Vale of Leithen are currently languish in last place but are in touching distance of 15th placed Dalbeattie Star, who are 3 points ahead and take on a fellow struggling borders side in Berwick Rangers, in what is a crunch match in itself. Vale haven’t been in league action since February 1st when they were condemned to a 7-1 defeat at the hands of Cumbernauld Colts, while they have to look back to December 28th 2019 for their last league win; a 3-1 win over Gala Fairydean Rovers offered a beacon of hope that Vale may be able to move out of the relegation place. A run of 3 consecutive defeats leave them still searching for their first win of 2020 and with 8 games remaining for Vale this season it becomes increasingly apparent that Vale are running out of time to save their league position. Top scorer Brad Rixon may be pivotal in leading the charge in Vale’s great escape.

Spartans, compared to their opponents Vale, have had a much more successful season. Spartans are currently sandwiched in 5th place and are 4 points behind BSC Glasgow, who have 3 games in hand while they are 5 points ahead of 6th placed Civil Service Strollers. Spartans have suffered from some defensive frailties this season while inconsistency has caused its own issues. Defeats to lesser placed teams like University of Stirling and Caledonian Braves have resulted in Spartans falling slightly behind the leading pack and are just below the qualification places for the Scottish Challenge Cup. Aaron Murrell and Blair Atkinson have tallied 8 goals and 10 goals each respectively so far this season and are the ones to watch out for.

Spartans took the 3 points in the reverse fixture earlier this season when they travelled to Victoria Park in Innerleithen and ran out convincing 5-1 winners.

Players to watch

Spartans – Ian McFarland

Vale of Leithen – Brad Rixon

kelty hearts vs bonnyrigg rose

By Craig Edwards

The top two face off at New Central Park on Saturday in their first meeting since they were both in the junior set up.

The two sides have been excellent this season with both only suffering a single defeat in the league this season.

Kelty’s came early on in the season, away at Cumbernauld Colts while Rose were beaten a few weeks later at home to BSC Glasgow.

Kelty have been near perfect at New Central Park with only East Stirlingshire the only side to leave Fife with a point while Bonnrigg are very similar on the road as Civil Service Strollers remain the only side to have taken something when Rose have come along.

The home side have scored the most goals and conceded the fewest in the Lowland League this season last year’s East of Scotland champions still firmly have their sights set on successive promotions.

This fixture could go a long way in deciding whether the Lowland League trophy resides in Kelty or Bonnyrigg this May.

Players to watch

Kelty Hearts – Nathan Austin

Bonnyrigg Rose – Lee Currie

dalbeattie star vs berwick rangers

By Ronan Alexander

A strengthened Dalbeattie Star side take on a rejuvenated Berwick Rangers side at Islecroft Stadium on Saturday with both sides desperate for more points.

Star have been on a miserable run in the league but have added new signings to their squad to give them a boost for the end of season run in. Callum Williams has made his loan move from Queen of the South permanent and striker Russell Currie has joined on loan from Annan Athletic. Steven Black has also linked up with Dalbeattie having recently spent time playing in defence for Annan Athletic and Gretna 2008.

The Wee Gers have a bit more of a feel good factor at the club after their successful family day which attracted a crowd of 556, their biggest of the season. That crowd watched Berwick defeat Edinburgh University 2-0 and will be aiming to build on that to put together a strong run of results, something Ian Little’s side have struggled to do so far this season.

Berwick won the reverse fixture 3-0 back in October.

Players to watch

Dalbeattie Star – Russell Currie

Berwick Rangers – Lewis Barr

gala fairydean rovers vs civil service strollers

By Damon Main

While Civil Service Strollers last 2 matches have fallen victim to the recent cold and wet spell, the chances are this weekend’s fixture in Galashiels will go ahead thanks to the all weather surface at Netherdale.

Strollers have found goals hard to come by this season and that is one of the main reasons why they have been unable to challenge the heavyweight sides above them.  Despite running Kelty Hearts close at the end of January the 2-7 thumping they received from Caledonian Braves last time out will be all the visiting side need to spur them into a more robust defensive performance.

Likewise, Gala Fairydean Rovers will be still smarting from 1-5 and 2-5 reversals suffered recently against East Stirlingshire and Bonnyrigg Rose. But the Borders side will point to the 2-2 draw against East Kilbride as a sign of the credentials they have as a Lowland League side as they attempt to solidify a mid table finish.

Players to watch

Gala Fairydean Rovers – Ben Herdman

Civil Service Strollers – Mark McConnell

Edinburgh University vs East Kilbride

By Martin Fleming

Edinburgh University host the champions at Peffermill this Saturday with both sides on very different terms.

The students remain in the bottom three only three points ahead of dead bottom Vale of Leithen. Having not gained a point since the start of the month with a draw against Gretna, any points gained is massive for Edinburgh Uni to secure their place in the Lowland League next season. They come off another poor result after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Berwick Rangers.

East Kilbride on the other hand, despite a poor start and currently sitting 7th, the Lowland League champions will be full of confidence after putting four past BSC Glasgow last weekend. Scoring two in the first ten minutes, Kilby were able to run BSC ragged and hopefully continue a good run towards the end of the season.

Players to Watch

Edinburgh Uni – Robbie Sinclair

East Kilbride – Sean Winter

east stirlingshire vs caledonian braves

By Gregor Mackintosh

Caledonian Braves make the trip along to The Falkirk Stadium on Saturday where they will continue their difficult run of games in recent weeks, having faced title challengers Bonnyrigg Rose and Kelty Hearts, as well as BSC Glasgow and Civil Service Strollers. They take on a Shire side that are currently on a 4 game win streak having defeated Gala Fairydean Rovers, Berwick Rangers, Dalbeattie Star and Vale of Leithen.

It was Shire who took the 3 points in the reverse fixture earlier this season at Alliance Park, in what was a very even first half with the sides going in at half time locked at 0-0. A solid second half performance gave Shire the win courtesy of goals from Reis Peggie, Bobby Barr and Nicky Low; Barr has since been moved on by Shire after agreeing a transfer to League One Forfar Athletic while Matthew Flynn agreed a transfer to league leaders Kelty Hearts in January. Caledonian Braves have also had a turnover in players since that game, with defender Raffi Krissian and loanee Evan Galasso leaving the club while Serge Makofo has joined the Caledonian Braves in the time since.

Inconsistency has plagued the Caledonian Braves this season with impressive wins over the likes of Spartans, East Kilbride and the recent 7-2 win over Civil Service Strollers perhaps being overshadowed by more disappointing results such as the 1-0 defeat to Berwick Rangers and the crazy 5-5 draw against Dalbeattie Star. The 7-2 win over Civil Service Strollers earlier this month shows what kind of firepower the Caledonian Braves have in their arsenal, with star strikers Ross McNeil and Neil McLaughlin especially showing off their clinical goal scoring capabilities this season, having notched 28 goals between them this season; a tally which accounts for over half of the goals the Caledonian Braves have scored this season.

East Stirlingshire’s poor performances in big games this season have marred what is otherwise a rather successful season. Shire currently sit in 3rd place in the Lowland League but have been in great form since the beginning of the year, losing just one game out of six so far in 2020. That solitary defeat in 2020 came against the University of Stirling on January 11th .The focus now for Shire appears to be on next season with many players already signed up for the next campaign. The list of players signed up for next season includes the likes of midfield maestro Nicky Low; who stated on Shire TV last week that he had rejected full time offers from the League of Ireland to remain with The Shire. Other players who have signed on are ex-Spartans winger Jamie Dishington and ex-Cumbernauld Colts striker Sean Brown, among some others.

Players to watch

East Strirlingshire – Jamie Dishington

Caledonian Braves – Neil McLaughlin

university of stirling vs gretna 2008

By Ronan Alexander

10th place Stirling Uni welcome 13th place Gretna 2008 at Forthbank Stadium on Saturday.

The students have only won 1 of their last 7 in the Lowland League but are in terrific form in the BUCS North Premier League. Their form continued on Wednesday as they defeated the University of South Wales 3-0 with 10 men to set up a tie with Cardiff Met University in the semi-finals of the BUCS Championships. They’ll be hoping to transform that run of midweek results into their Saturday games.

The visitors sit four points clear of the relegation zone and are in decent form. They’ve only lost two of their last six and are becoming more stubborn to beat under Rowan Alexander. A win would give them valued breathing space in the battle to beat the drop.

Players to watch

University of Stirling – Jason Jarvis

Gretna 2008 – Bryan Gilfillan