Having both won matches featuring ten goals in midweek cup ties, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle will be expected to produce a high-scoring affair when they meet in a Qualifying League Section A fixture at Saughton Enclosure tomorrow.
Dougie Dalgleish, the Tynecastle boss, predicts that, given the two sides’ recent form, “it may finish something like 6-6”.
Tynie won 6-4 at Eyemouth on Tuesday, which helped them get over the disappointment of losing to Coldstream last weekend in a league game they dominated. Dalgleish spoke of a naivety affecting his young team – many of whom are experiencing their first taste of East of Scotland senior football – and hopes they can become more streetwise in a bid to carve out victories.
“We pummelled Coldstream and came away with nothing,” said Dalgleish. “We played them off the park, but there are some older heads in this league who, if you let them do things their way, will punish you. There is a naivety about our team.
“There are some individuals in our team who are very good talents and others who are good, honest workers. Going forward against Eyemouth, we were absolutely magnificent, some of the moves, the passing forward was fantastic.
“One of the snags of being a younger team is that older [opposition] players don’t let you get the ball down and play, but we’ll learn to cope with that. I’ve always seen the Qualifying League as an early competition to get your team settled for the more important league campaign. In our case, it is invaluable for a new squad like ours.”
Lothian, who currently top the group, can move six points clear of Tynecastle – and, potentially, Kelso – with a win. Despite his team having scored 14 goals while conceding only three in their first two matches of the season, Lothian boss Grant Carnie is wary of tomorrow’s opponents.
“Saturday’s game will be harder than the other two – no disrespect to Civil Service and Eyemouth,” said Carnie. “Every game matters to us, and the Qualifying League gives players a chance to get fitter before the first league game.
“I’m quite happy going from game to game. At the end of the season, I’m sure we’ll be in the mix in the league and the cups.”
Also in Section A, Kelso United host Eyemouth United.
In Section B, an all-students tie sees Edinburgh University entertain Stirling University, while Hawick Royal Albert host Ormiston.
Section C pits Hibs’ youngsters against Heriot-Watt University, while Craigroyston visit Burntisland Shipyard.
Midlothian club Easthouses Lily are at home to Berwick Rangers Reserves in Section D, and, in the same group, Spartans’ East of Scotland side travels to Coldstream.