Leith boss delighted as team extends lead in the title race

Leith Athletic coach Derek Riddel
Leith Athletic coach Derek Riddel
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Leith Athletic manager Derek Riddel says the joy at his side’s 2-1 East of Scotland league win over Peebles Rovers on Saturday was topped further upon learning main title contenders Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale had suffered a 4-0 defeat by Spartans.

A brace from John Ferguson at Whitestone Park cancelled out Jim Young’s opener for Rovers – a result that moves Riddel’s men 25 points clear of fifth-placed Lothian who still have seven games in hand.

“If somebody had said to me after losing to Ormiston last Tuesday night that we would be further ahead of Lothian by the weekend, I would have laughed at them,” Riddel admitted. “It’s been quite a turn of events but I’ve said that to the guys that everybody is going to drop points between now and the end of the season. It’s a really competitive league and we’ve done well to get the points we have. We’re basically saying to Lothian you need to get the points back and catch us.

“Lothian are a good side and they showed last season when they came from behind to win the league. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and we’ve got a wee break from league matches now until April 13.”

On the Peebles clash itself, Riddel added: “A lot of rain fell on Saturday morning so there were parts of the pitch that were verging on unplayable. But the referee was happy to start the game and although the pitch was heavy, both teams tried to play as much football as possible. Peebles are a right good side so it’s a massive three points for us as Lothian have still got to go down there as well.”

Spartans goals at Ainslie Park came from Sean Stewart, Bradley Raiker, Blair Atkinson and Jonny Grotlin.

Craigroyston crashed to a shock 5-1 defeat away to Burntisland Shipyard with the home side’s Kevin Masson grabbing a hat-trick. Iain Millar and Ewan Henderson were also on target with Zack Williams netting Craigie’s solitary effort.

Ormiston followed up last midweek’s win over Leith with a 4-1 triumph over Tynecastle at Saughton Enclosure.

Meanwhile, in the King Cup first round, Civil Service Strollers went down 2-0 to Hawick Royal Albert at Marine Drive.