Dalbeattie trip holds no fears for Strollers boss

Ross McNeil

Ross McNeil

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CIVIL SERVICE STROLLERS manager Ross McNeil is unfazed by the prospect of a South Region Challenge Cup quarter-final clash away to Lowland League side Dalbeattie Star this weekend.

Strollers have already made two trips into the unknown this season with their journeys to Wigtown and Forres Mechanics in the earlier rounds of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

McNeil is looking forward to the prospect of pitting his wits against a side who currently sit seventh in the Lowland League.

“We’re going there with confidence,” he said. “We had them watched against Spartans last week and by all accounts they’re a very good side.

“But we’ve had to play teams this season who are a bit of an unknown quantity to us, so we can handle that factor.”

McNeil confirmed that he has taken five players on trial at Strollers with a view to making permanent signings. Midfielder Dayne Robertson has returned to training following an injury lay-off although he is unlikely to make the trip to Dumfries and Galloway.

The second round of The King Cup – a trophy that was won by Edinburgh University last season – commences this weekend.

Spartans EOS manager Alex Cunningham was heartened by his side’s display in last weekend’s 3-2 loss to Easthouses in the Premier Division and is hopeful that they can return to winning ways when they welcome First Division side Ormiston to Ainslie Park.

“I was very proud of the way the players played last weekend in what was always going to be a very physical encounter,” said Cunningham, whose only absentees for tomorrow’s match will be Kyle Hogg and Kyle Bogie.

Ormiston manager Brian Johnston is looking forward to pitting his wits against Premier Division opposition with a full squad available. “Not many people will give us a chance tomorrow,” he said. “But with the exception of the blip we had at Heriot Watt, we’ve been in good form recently.

“A run in one of the cup competitions could give us an extra boost for the league run-in where I expect it will be an interesting fight between ourselves, Duns and Heriot Watt for the promotion slot.”

Premier Division leaders Leith Athletic have a trip to Burntisland Shipyard, with Derek Riddel’s side hoping to make it five wins on the bounce.

Craigroyston and Stirling University can take their minds off Premier Division survival for at least one weekend as they clash at Gannochy Complex, whilst Raymond Carr takes charge of his first match as Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale manager with a trip to Eyemouth United.

The match at Ainslie Park and Civil Service Strollers’ clash at Dalbeattie both have 3.00pm kick offs, with all other matches start at 2.30pm.

• Dalgleish in interim charge as Tynecastle weigh up options

Tynecastle have confirmed that the club’s technical director, Dougie Dalgleish, has been appointed as interim manager.

Dalgleish enjoyed a spell in charge of Tynie last season and will be closely assisted by youth team coaches Steve Vinter and Chris Scott following the 
departure of Steven McKenzie as manager last week.

The club are currently assessing their management structure before a permanent team is put in place.

“Dougie is re-assuming the role he had at the club prior to becoming the technical director,” said Tynecastle chairman Alistair Wilkie. “It’s an appointment I’m very pleased with as we aim to finish the season strongly.”

Tynecastle’s only absentee for tomorrow’s Premier Division match against Easthouses Lily is striker Jamie Devlin.

Easthouses have the chance to close the gap on leaders Leith Athletic to two points, with Darren Robertson the only player missing from Dave McQueenie’s squad.

In the Central Taxis First Division, Heriot-Watt travel to Hawick Royal Albert following the midweek cancellation of the King Cup tie with Easthouses which has now been rescheduled for next Tuesday (7.30pm at Newbattle Complex).