Feelings of ‘what might have been’ haunt Lothian Thistle

Lothian Thistle manager Raymond Carr must lift his players for an assault on the title

Lothian Thistle manager Raymond Carr must lift his players for an assault on the title

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Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Raymond Carr admits it will be a challenge to keep his players motivated for the rest of The East of Scotland League season after their Scottish Cup exploits.

The reigning League Champions suffered an agonising 2-0 loss to East Kilbride last Wednesday at K Park in the fourth round to miss out on a home tie with Celtic.

After last week’s league postponement, it’s a Capital derby at Ainslie Park tomorrow as the Saughton outfit face Spartans EoS (3.00pm).

“After all the excitement and media attention we had for the cup, it’s back to reality now and it will hit the players a little bit, it’s a bit of a come down for them,” said Carr who could hand a debut to goalkeeper John Gilbertson with Dean Cummings having returned from holiday.

“It’s important that we try to start picking up points in the league with the games in hand.”

“The only way we’ll be able to enjoy Scottish Cup nights next season is if we win the League. It’s almost a year since I came back to the club and we had a similar scenario then, we were playing catch up to Leith and Easthouses but managed to do it.”

Richie Wilkes and Grant Munro are still injured and keeper Kevin Swain is set to have an operation on his broken arm next week.

Spartans EoS want to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat by Burntisland Shipyard last Saturday.

“The boys played really well last weekend but we were hit by two late goals, but I can’t ask them to play any better,” said Spartans boss Colin Tomassi.

League leaders Leith Athletic host Heriot-Watt-University at Meadowbank 3G hoping to extend their leas of 15 points over Spartans.

Tynecastle are due to face Ormiston at Saughton but manager Steve Vinter is not confident the game will survive.

“The pitch is very soggy and I would be very surprised if it went ahead. It’s frustrating for the players as they just want to play, but nobody can control the weather,” said Vinter who still has striker Scott Coleman unavailable as he is yet to serve a two-match suspension.

Civil Service Strollers boss Alex Cunningham has a full squad to choose from for the visit of Duns to Christie Gillies Park, the game subject to a pitch inspection.