Penicuik Athletic last night secured promotion to the Super League for the first time with a 1-0 win away to Livingston United – and can lift the Premier League title with victory on Saturday.
Scott McCulloch’s first-half strike was enough to give the Midlothian side the all important three points to ensure at least a second-place finish.
Player-manager Craig Meikle was relieved to get one of the two promotion spots after four years of trying and insisted his position as manager might have been at risk had they not been promoted.
“I am more relived than anything,” he said.
“We were hugely confident at the start of the season that we would get one of the promotion spots.
“Our main goal was to win the league. The players that I brought to the club were all sold on a belief that we would be strong enough to go and win the league this year.
“The result puts us in a fantastic position to go on and win the league now, we just need to win one of our remaining four games.”
Backed by a vocal travelling support, Penicuik started brightly and could’ve taken an early lead inside three minutes, but McCulloch headed narrowly over the bar from a Grant Killin cross.
The visitors found Livingston keeper Darren Dolan in inspired form in the first half. However, they managed to break through before the interval.
A Livingston clearance fell straight to the feet of right-back Greg Ross and he passed into McCulloch on the edge of the box, who turned before striking across goal and into the bottom corner past Dolan on 40 minutes.
Livingston, who are fighting for their lives at the other end of the table, threw everything at Penicuik at the start of the second half, but they couldn’t find a way past visiting keeper Youssef Bejaoui.
Penicuik were dealt a double blow when captain Dougie Cunnison went off with a head injury, and then midfielder Ryan Gay had to be replaced due to a hip problem.
The loss of two influential players made Penicuik nervous and they had Bejaoui to thank for maintaining their advantage as he made a great stop one-on-one to deny Livingston striker Bryan Jaconelli with ten minutes remaining.
Penicuik now know a win at home to Jeanfield Swifts this Saturday will bring them their first piece of silverware in nine years, since they won the Lothian Division 2 league in season 2004/05.
Elsewhere last night, Dalkeith kept up their push for a Premier League play-off place by winning 3-2 at Arniston.
In the South League, Haddington were 3-1 winners at Rosyth.