EoS: Lothian and Tynecastle have home derby hopes

Lothian Thistle HV boss Raymond Carr. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Lothian Thistle HV boss Raymond Carr. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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The new 16-team Central Taxis East of Scotland League kicks off this weekend with two eye-catching matches in the opening round of fixtures.

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle who both groundshare Saughton Enclousre go head-to-head with Lothian boss Raymond Carr keen to emphasise the importance of getting a result.

“Both clubs are working closely together to make sure the facilities and pitches are to a high standard and if we can both work together closely off the field then it can only be for the benefit of the local community as well,” said Carr.

“But in terms of what happens on the field, it’s going to be a really interesting game tomorrow, Tynecastle will want to beat us as much as we want to beat them.

“They got a good result midweek against Eyemouth although I’m expecting a different starting XI for tomorrow.”

“Whatever happens tomorrow will have no bearing on the destination of the league but it would be a great start for both sides if they could beat a rival in the first game.”

Tynecastle manager Stevie Vinter is also relishing tomorrow’s clash.

“We can’t wait for this one. We didn’t speak much about it before the Eyemouth game, but now that’s out the way, this is the type of game you want to begin the league season with and both sides have real good quality,” said Vinter.

“The pitch is looking immaculate, I know Tam Smith, Dougie Dalgleish and Raymond Carr have done a lot of work on it and after four games played on it already, it’s looking good.”

Tynecastle brought off triple hat-trickster Scott Coleman after an hour during Wednesday night’s match but he is expected to be fit for tomorrow.

Lothian could hand a debut to Ryan Wilson following his transfer to the club, with only slight doubts lingering over Paul Crawford and Alan McDonough.

Alex Cunningham returns to his old stomping ground tomorrow when he takes his Civil Service Strollers side to Ainslie Park to face Spartans EOS (kick-off 3.00pm).

Kyle Boggie, Barry Milven and Jonathan Watson are expected to return to the Strollers squad after missing last weekend’s Scottish Cup Preliminary Round victory over Newton Stewart.

“The likes of Davy Stewart and Ian Bannatyne obviously worked with me at Spartans last season so they won’t be fazed by the surface,” said Cunningham.

“Colin has made a great start at Spartans but tomorrow will be a different type of game for both teams, going into the away dressing-room will be different but I’m looking forward to going back.”

Spartans EOS manager Colin Tomassi will also be facing his former side having coached at Strollers last season.

The Ainslie Park men will be looking for their fourth straight win having wrapped up impressive Qualifying League Cup victories over Duns, Stirling University and Kelso.

In tomorrow’s other opening fixtures, Craigroyston host Leith Athletic at St Mark’s Park, Ormiston host Burntisland Shipyard and Ian Little will be looking for his first win as the manager of Heriot-Watt when they travel to play Stirling University. All other matches kick-off at 2.30pm.