Whitehill Welfare aiming to break home duck

Kevin Keane is one of a number of former Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale players now wearing Welfare's claret and blue
Kevin Keane is one of a number of former Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale players now wearing Welfare's claret and blue
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Whitehill Welfare may be tucked in behind the Ferrari Packaging Lowland League leaders in third, but defender Kevin Keane’s main priority is securing a first home win against Gretna 2008 tomorrow.

Welfare have taken an impressive 15 points from 18 on the road this season, but have yet to claim all three at Ferguson Park since manager Grant Carnie took the reigns towards the end of last season.

While left-back Keane has been pleased with form on the road, he admits winning at home is something that needs to be done sooner rather than later. “We’re definitely wanting a first home win,” he said. “It’ll be tough but we’re looking forward to it. After a good win down at Gala confidence is high and I don’t see why we can’t go out and win.

“It’s not something Grant’s really talked about. It’s just the way we’ve performed when we’ve been at home – I can’t really push a button and say what’s caused it. Our away form’s been pretty decent and we’ve had some really good results but at home we’ve lost some games we should’ve won.

“I don’t know if it’s the pressure of playing in front of everyone like the committee and fans, or if the pitch just doesn’t suit our style of play – it’s quite narrow there. I don’t know if that’s got anything to do with it but as it’s gone on and we’ve not actually won it’s quite tough to break that duck. Fingers crossed it’ll come this Saturday and we’ll push on from there. Gretna are a good team who’ve had some good results but if we go out and play our game we can win.

Keane, like his manager, made the move to Rosewell from Lothian Thistle, along with John Williams, Callum Connolly and Sean Wringe.

The defender admitted that having a few familiar faces around made the step up easier. “It was 100 per cent easier when I knew a few of the boys were coming already,” he said. “It’s a brand new squad with only keeping four players from last season but having three other Lothian boys helped.

“It’s a massive step up but it was one I think I needed to take. I was quite injury prone last season but I’ve started pretty well and been fully fit. I needed a run of games.

“No disrespect to the East of Scotland League, but the step up is high. Every team in the Lowland League is capable of winning every game, whereas East of Scotland, there’s a few teams that aren’t so good compared to others. The grounds you’re going to and the set ups in the Lowland League are second to none at non-league level. It’s so much better.”

Keane commutes to Midlothian for games and training from Stirling University, where he is studying for a business degree. While he doesn’t know any of his Lowland League opponents personally, he does hope to train with them once a week to reduce midweek travelling. “I’m trying to sort out some training either with the firsts or seconds,” he revealed. “Just once a week to save me coming through. I do like playing in Edinburgh. I can see the family and my Dad comes to watch me so it’s easier for him if I’m playing here. If I train with Stirling I’ll be looking at their tactics but I’m sure Shelley [Kerr, Stirling Uni coach] will tell me to vacate before we play them!”