Leith Athletic boss Derek Riddel says Kelty Hearts and Bo’ness United would be “welcome with open arms” should they opt to join the East of Scotland League next season.
Both Junior clubs have expressed an interest in repositioning themselves in Scottish football with the hope of one day becoming SPFL sides.
Junior clubs wishing to become licensed under the SFA have to commit to the pyramid structure under new guidelines and Bo’ness and Kelty see a potential move to the East of Scotland League – or direct entry to the Lowland League – as a chance to progress.
And now Riddel has given his seal of approval for the two Super League powerhouses to join.
“I think if these teams have expressed an interest in joining the East of Scotland League then it’s something we should all embrace,” he said. “The more teams that want to join the league the better so they would be welcome with open arms by everyone at Leith.
“Everybody wants to win but you also want a challenge as well. There used to be 26 clubs in the East of Scotland set-up and now that’s down to 11 so there is a huge void to fill.”
In the meantime, champions Leith have a league title to defend. Their lead over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale stands at five points but Raymond Carr’s side do have two games in hand. The two sides clash in the final game of the season on Saturday, May 13.
“The expectation is that it should come down to the last game of the season,” Riddel said ahead of Leith’s trip to Eyemouth United tomorrow. “But both teams have still got to go down to Tweedmouth midweek, trying to get a squad together so anything can happen.”
Lothian will be keen to atone for Wednesday night’s League Cup semi-final defeat to Tynecastle on penalties when they host Stirling University at Saughton. Heriot-Watt University travel to Coldstream for a League Cup first-round tie where they’ll meet Leith in the semis should they advance.