Lothian Thistle all set for crunch clash with leaders

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Kevin Twaddle

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Kevin Twaddle

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Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Kevin Twaddle insists his title-chasing side does not feel any pressure as they prepare to face long-time Central Taxis Premier Division leaders Stirling University at Saughton tomorrow.

Twaddle’s men can topple Stirling from the summit with a win, but the former Hearts midfielder, whose team have three games in hand over their rivals, insists the Lothian camp is treating the fixture like any other game.

“We don’t talk about pressure at the club,” said Twaddle. “Stirling are the team to beat at the moment, but we go into the game unbeaten [during Twaddle’s seven-game reign], so it should be a cracker.”

Twaddle has a full complement of players to choose from.

“Stirling will be a really tough challenge,” he said. “It’ll be up to us to try and close the gap.”

Civil Service Strollers boss Ross McNeil continues to recruit new players as his side, set to host Tynecastle at Muirhouse tomorrow, aim to lift themselves from the foot of the top tier. Kieran McGachie has arrived on loan from Clyde in recent weeks and Danny McFadden is a recent signing from Musselburgh Athletic.

“We have a full squad to choose from and we’re hoping to add another couple before Saturday,” said McNeil.

Second-placed Craigroyston, level on points with Lothian, have the opportunity to go joint-top of the table providing they can take three points at Leith Athletic. However, Craigie assistant boss Gary Sutherland knows such a task will not prove simple. “If we work hard and do the right things, we won’t be far away, but you don’t get anything in football without work-rate,” said Sutherland. “We are playing well and just have to keep our form of late.”

Leith boss Derek Riddel, meanwhile, is looking to derail Craigie’s title bid. “We’ll be looking to upset the odds and take three points,” he said. “We need to add a bit more consistency to our game.”

Chris Smith’s struggling Heriot-Watt University, joint-bottom with Civil Service, can climb to within four points of mid-table opponents Coldstream if they record a rare win at Riccarton.

Smith, has a full squad to choose from after students returned from the festive break.

Premier club Spartans EOS are involved in a Qualifying League Section D tie at home to Berwick Rangers Reserves.

Defeat for the hosts at Ainslie Park would rule Spartans out of the running for automatic qualification to the League Cup’s quarter-final stage, but Alex Cunningham’s men will, regardless of the result, remain in contention for qualification, at least via the play-off stage that includes teams finishing second or third in their section.