Easthouses Lily are relishing their return to the junior leagues after a 46-year absence.
The Midlothian club kick-off their campaign in the South Division with a season-opener at home to West Calder United on Saturday after making the move from the East of Scotland set-up.
Originally formed in 1950, Lily began life as a football club in the Edinburgh & District Junior league where they competed alongside neighbours Newtongrange Star, Bonnyrigg Rose and Dalkeith Thistle. However they, folded in the late 1960s before reforming several years later. The club then joined the Scottish Welfare Football Association where they remained until the early 1980s, before they joined the East of Scotland leagues.
The move back to their roots this season has caught the imagination of locals, who are eager to see the club return to the juniors.
Given the success that the Midlothian area has enjoyed in recent years with Newtongrange, Bonnyrigg and Penicuik Athletic all winning silverware, Lily manager David McQueenie, although admitting that stage is a long way away, is one day aiming to get his side to the top level.
“We just thought that we needed a new challenge,” said McQueenie, whose side finished second in the East of Scotland Premier league last season. “I don’t think we were ever going to get into the Lowland League, even if we had won the East of Scotland league.
“With Midlothian being more of a junior set-up, it made sense that we joined and it gives us something to aim for to get out the South Division, although that’s away in the future.
“The interest has been unbelievable since we joined the juniors with local people wanting to come along to the games and I think it will help Easthouses as a community altogether.”
Lily have been priced up as second favourites for the title behind Tranent with McBookie, with manager Gary Small having bolstered his squad with five of last season’s Haddington side which secured automatic promotion.
McQueenie isn’t going to set his sights on becoming champions just yet though and would be happy with a top four finish.
He added: “We are going into it to enjoy it first and foremost. Like any team you want to go in to any league to try and win it but I feel for our first season, if we can finish in the top four, that would be a successful season for us.”