Football: Stirling students know arithmetic needed to win championship

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Stirling UNIVERSITY go into tonight’s East Seniors Central Taxis Premier Division game against Vale of Leithen at Innerleithen (kick-off 7.15) with the knowledge that a victory by at least two clear goals will reward them with the championship title for the first time.

A win by two goals would also guarantee them a place in the second round of next season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.

Vale of Leithen’s Victoria Park pitch was declared unplayable before the pair were due to play last Friday night although Whitehill Welfare’s fixture against Spartans did go ahead. Spartans won a nail-biting contest 5-4 to set up this final league game decider.

Spartans are currently sitting top of the table with 51 points having completed their fixtures and have a goal difference of plus 38, while Stirling are on 48 points with a goal difference of plus 36 and the students have scored one more goal, 67 to 66.

Spartans co-manager, Mike Lawson, can now only wait to see if his Ainslie Park outfit have done enough to lift their fourth consecutive Premier Division flag. Lawson said: “If both games had gone on at the same time and we knew what the score in the other game was then it would have affected how we played the game.

“At 4-2 ahead on Friday night, should we have gone for another goal or shut up shop? We might have sat in if we had known that was enough. We had to stick or twist so we tried to be positive and tried to get more goals which nearly cost us the game.

“It was probably the best game of the season but in the circumstances it was a nightmare for us because Stirling University know exactly what they have to do now. I’d love to be in their position.”

The Stirling University coach, Gordon Dick, watched Spartans in action against Whitehill and is now looking forward to the biggest game in the history of Stirling University. Dick said: “It was a great game for the neutral and at the end of the day we will just go out tonight and hopefully win. We’ll take it from there.”

Stirling have Chris McKee and Michael Pentland both out injured while Vale will be without the suspended Ricky Miller and the injured Paul Greenhill, although Jordan Hall and Jamie Paterson return.