Premier clubs bidding to reach League Cup final

Derek Riddel
Derek Riddel
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A PLACE in the final of the Central Taxis League Cup is at stake for four Premier League clubs this weekend.

The top two sides in the Premier clash at Meadowbank, where Leith Athletic will be aiming for their third final of the season, having secured the Alex Jack Cup in November and with the Image Printers Cup final to look forward to.

Derek Riddel should be able to welcome back Gary Black, Sean Murphy and Lachlan Thom after all were unavailable for last weekend’s King Cup win at Burntisland.

Easthouses Lily will be hoping for better fortune after losing to a late penalty against Tynecastle in the league last weekend, and crashing out of the King Cup on Tuesday to First Division Heriot Watt University.

Two goals from Sean Muhsin ended Lily’s participation in the competition after Paul McDermott had put the hosts ahead at Newbattle.

Lily boss Dave McQueenie is confident his side will perform better when they face the team who sit five points ahead of them in the league. “We’ve had two disappointing results in the space of four days and naturally, we were disappointed to lose both games,” he said. “But tomorrow is the chance to reach a final. That is enough motivation for the players against the best side in the league at the moment.”

In the other semi-final at Ainslie Park, Spartans EOS host Coldstream, who parted company with manager Stephen Gibbard this week.

Alex Cunningham will be able to welcome back Kyle Hogg and Kyle Bogie to his squad after they missed last weekend’s King Cup win over Ormiston.

“The fact that it is a semi-final is enough motivation for all the players” said Cunningham.

“Home advantage is another factor but we’re not underestimating Coldstream.”

In the King Cup, Civil Service Strollers travel to Tynecastle with Martin Robertson the only long-term injury casualty.

Dayne Robertson is expected to play through the pain barrier having netted the winner in the South Challenge Cup semi-final last weekend at Dalbeattie Star.

Captain Neil Campbell is back to full fitness, although Chris Tobin and Kieran McGachie are unavailable tomorrow.

Craigroyston and Stirling University meet in the re-arranged tie at Gannochy Complex.

Grant Carnie will be hoping to give debuts to Scott Kelly and Mikey Bruce, who has been signed from Spartans on loan.

The draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the King Cup have been made.

Quarter-Finals: Coldstream v Leith Athletic; Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale v Peebles Rovers; Spartans v Tynecastle/Civil Service; Stirling University v Craigroyston/Heriot Watt University.

Semi-Finals: Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale/Peebles Rovers v Stirling Uni/Craigroyston/Heriot-Watt; Spartans/ Tynecastle/Civil Service v Coldstream/Leith Atheltic.

• Heriot-Watt looking to kick on after King Cup giantkilling

Heriot-Watt University head coach Chris Smith will be looking to build on a superb midweek King Cup win over Premier League Easthouses Lily when the students host Eyemouth United at Riccarton tomorrow.

Sean Muhsin’s late penalty earned the students a quarter-final tie with Craigroyston in a 2-1 success. Smith was delighted with his team’s attitude and performance, especially as under-20 players Adam Kerlin (midfield) and left-back Jack Daniels were playing.

“They brought a freshness to the team during the week and I was delighted with all of them,” said Smith.

“It was a fantastic result against a side going strong in the Premier League. The disappointment for us is that Sean Muhsin is now on holiday for a week, but Scott Dargo has returned to training.

“With the games in hand that we have, every point is crucial.”

Watt are currently lying 13 points behind Ormiston in fourth place but do have four games in hand.

Ormiston face another promotion rival in Duns at New Hawthorn Park tomorrow.

The Border outfit currently sit in third place three points behind Brian Johnston’s side but do have two games in hand on Ormiston.

Johnston’s only absentee for tomorrow is defender John Morgan, with Duns striker Stephen Shennan one to watch with 28 goals this season.