Whitehill Welfare’s longest serving player, Andrew Kidd, believes he and his team-mates have failed to live up to their expectations as reigning East of Scotland champions.
The Rosewell outfit, along with 11 other clubs, were elected into this season’s inaugural Lowland League in June but have so far struggled to raise their game to cope with the demands of a more challenging set-up.
Kidd has served Whitehill for seven years and has been a mainstay in the heart of his side’s midfield. However, after offering a strong appraisal to manager Mickey Lawson of the squad he has managed to assemble, Kidd believes that too many of those individuals have failed to hit peak form.
“When you look at the squads in the league, we’ve probably got one of the strongest around,” Kidd argued. “We’ve had a lot of injuries and suspensions, but we should be doing a lot better than we have been. It’s just getting the right blend.
“Last season we had a smaller squad and were grinding out results. But this year we’ve been getting some unlucky breaks and some of the football we have played has not been producing the rewards we deserve.
“The teams are definitely better this year, so the standard is more of a challenge. But because we were champions last season, we have maybe taken things for granted a little, so we need to raise our game.”
Having been given freedom to advance further forward than in previous campaigns, the 27-year-old is relishing the input he is having at the business end of the pitch where he has already scored seven goals and has a host of assists to his credit.
Speaking about his more advanced role, Kidd said: “I’m enjoying it a lot more. I’ve been pushed further up the park and have been getting forward and helping out. I want to get into double figures this season with scoring but I’ve got the most assists in the team just now so I am happy to keep going on that front.”
Currently 12 points adrift of league leaders Spartans in the race for the championship crown, the Lowland League Cup perhaps represents the club’s best opportunity for silverware this season. However, defeat by Edinburgh City last weekend at Meadowbank and, with only one point to show from their opening two group B fixtures, tomorrow’s trip to Spartans has now been rendered a “must win” if they are to progress from the section.
“We started the game against City well but we had a couple of decisions go against us,” added Kidd. “We lost our shape a bit after Stevie (Manson) was sent off, so we were up against it from there on. But we could have been a couple of goals up before the decisions started to go against us. We were playing really well, but it’s just one of those games that we weren’t getting the breaks in front of goal.
“The group is wide open now with Spartans getting beat last weekend too, so it’s vital now we get the three points tomorrow. We have still got to play them twice, once tomorrow and then again in the new year, so if we could take a minimum of four points from those fixtures then that would be ideal.
“We played well down there (Ainslie Park) last time and they’ll be hurting after losing to Stirling where their confidence has maybe taken a bit of a dent.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh City will be aiming to make it two consecutive victories at home when they welcome Stirling University to Meadowbank, the visitors buoyed by their 4-3 triumph over Spartans at Ainslie Park last weekend.
In section A, Preston Athletic await the visit of Vale of Leithen, looking to secure their first win of the group phase.