Strollers add new faces in bid to freshen squad

Civil Service Strollers boss Ross McNeil
Civil Service Strollers boss Ross McNeil
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Civil Service Strollers will look to salvage a miserable cup campaign by gaining three points from their visit to Eyemouth – and revive an outside chance of qualification for the Central Taxis East of Scotland League Cup.

Strollers sit bottom of their five-team group, having gained just three points from a single victory and four losses so far.

With victory at Eyemouth, they can leapfrog their opponents into fourth place and climb to within a point of Kelso United, who occupy third spot, which brings a play-off place.

Strollers boss Ross McNeil has once more been busy adding new faces to his side in a bid to improve an inauspicious season for his club, with Steven Devine arriving from Pumpherston Juniors and Jack Downie recruited from Livingston.

“We are progressing as the weeks go on,” said McNeil. “Saturday will be a test for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Civil will hope Tynecastle, who will themselves aim to pile the pressure on Section A leaders Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, can beat Kelso United at Fernieside.

In Section B, leaders Edinburgh University can take a giant step towards qualification in their penultimate group fixture at home to Hawick Royal Albert at Peffermill.

Leith Athletic and Heriot-Watt University both go into their tie at Meadowbank 3G – switched from Riccarton due to an unplayable surface there – buoyed by impressive wins over Tynecastle and Craigroyston last weekend.

Just a point separates the two teams in their bid for qualification, with Leith occupying the coveted third place in Section C and Watt having played a game more than their rivals.

Watt boss Chris Smith said: “Our squad is keen to continue where we left off last week. We have played Leith a couple of times already this season so we know how they play and what to look out for. So, we should be well-prepared for the game.”

Leith boss Derek Riddel said: “Heriot-Watt, like us, try to build the game up from the back, so we should see an open game. A draw sees us qualify for the play-offs, but we’ll be going out to win all three points.”

In the other Section C match, Craigroyston host leaders Hibs, with both teams tied on 13 points but with Craigie benefiting from a game in hand.

Craigie assistant boss Gary Sutherland expects a sharp and industrious young Hibs team hungry to gain a win that would all but secure automatic qualification in their final fixture.

“We want to finish top of our group, so we need to start scoring goals again and taking some of the chances we are creating,” said Sutherland, whose side may be without Liam Jack. “We will have to be tight, disciplined, and work hard.

“James McDonaugh, the Hibs boss, has done a good job there in a short time. It will be a tough game, but, if we play to our strengths, we will have a good chance.”

In Section D, Easthouses Lily cannot qualify even with victory in their final game at Coldstream.