East of Scotland title could go down to the wire – Riddel

Leith Athletic head coach Derek Riddel
Leith Athletic head coach Derek Riddel
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Leith Athletic boss Derek Riddel believes this season’s East of Scotland League title race is shaping up to be one of the most competitive for many years.

The champions were held to a 2-2 draw with nearest title challengers Heriot-Watt University at Riccarton on Saturday – a point that keeps them two points clear of their opponents at the top with the students having played three games more. Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale are currently five points adrift of Leith in third but do have a game in hand over the Meadowbank side.

And Riddel is now of the mindset that the title could go right down to the wire.

“Everybody is going to drop points so it’s how you react to that when it happens,” he said. “It’s looking as if it is going to be very tight over the next few weeks and months. It’s definitely a three-horse race with ourselves, Lothian and Heriot-Watt all fancying their chances.

“We’re top of the league so it’s up to the other teams to come and catch us. We’ve got a cup game this weekend and then we play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday the following week so we’ll see where we stand at the end of this month. We might even have a rough idea of the points total needed to win the league.”

On the match with Watt, Riddel added: “It was always going to be a difficult game but we were a bit disappointed to come away with a draw, even though we were losing at half-time.

“Heriot-Watt seemed quite happy to camp in during the second half but sometimes you’ve just got to accept that we didn’t do enough to win the game. It might turn out to be a good point though come the end of the season.”

Struggling Ormiston lost 1-0 to Peebles Rovers at Recreation Park – a Lee Zavaroni penalty consigning Ormi to their 12th league defeat of the season. Meanwhile, Tynecastle were beaten 3-2 by Lowland League outfit East Stirlingshire in the fourth round of the South Region Challenge Cup at the Falkirk Stadium.