Relegation candidates square up

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Leith ATHLETIC, who looked doomed and destined for relegation in mid-March when they had only four points from their 11 Premier Division games, have staged a remarkable recovery to give themselves a fighting chance of survival.

They make the short journey to Saughton Enclosure tomorrow to face fellow relegation candidates Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in a match which, quite literally, is “winner takes all.” Leith have a one-point advantage and therefore have the knowledge that in this, their final game, a draw would be enough for them to beat the drop.

“This is probably the biggest game that I have ever been involved in,” said the Leith manager, Derek Riddel. “And that includes Scottish Cup finals at various age levels. How we approach the game is very difficult because we only need a point to guarantee our safety.

“However, we will definitely not be approaching the game with a draw in mind. We are going into the game with a will to win and to achieve that as quickly as possible.”

Riddel’s only injury concerns are Mariano Cornago and Stephen Barrie while Jack Combe and Jason Stevens are in goal-scoring form.

Lothian’s manager, Raymond Carr, appreciates the magnitude of tomorrow’s task.

“The future of Premier Division survival is in both teams’ own hands,” said Carr. “Both of us will be going out to win the game – I don’t think that Leith will be going for a draw. It’s therefore going to be an attacking game which could produce a few goals.

“It really is a cup final and whoever wants it the most will win.”

Carr, with the exception of Alan McDonagh, has a full squad to select from. The game kicks-off at 2.30pm.