COACH Stuart Neave has guided ambitious Inverleith to the top of the Division One table but warned: “The real job starts now.”
In fact, it begins at Perth on January 25 in the domestic play-offs which decide the domestic title and European places for 2015. That is where Inverleith want to be.
The Edinburgh club are now in a round-robin group which also includes Grange, who finished the regular season in fourth place but beat Inverleith 6-5 in the first round of indoor matches, Dundee Wanderers, who were fifth, and Falkirk GHG who finished bottom of the eight teams.
Grove Menzieshill play outdoor champions Kelburne, Western, and Hillhead in their section with further qualification games on January 25 and February 1 with the final on February 8.
However, Fife-based Neave saluted his side after their 18-2 demolition of newly-promoted Falkirk GHG.
That took the Edinburgh team to 18 points from seven games, the same points as defending champions Grove Menzieshill. Inverleith go above the Tayside team on goal difference. Former Olympian Stephen Dick netted five goals in the convincing win. Adam Mackenzie added four and Chris Grassick, a Great Britain squad player, chipped in with a treble.
Neave’s men had earlier edged Grove Menzieshill 5-4 in a real thriller in which Inverleith led 3-0 only to be pegged back to 3-3 with eight minutes remaining and the playcaller said: “The result over Grove was a major psychological boost for the guys and we’re pleased to top the league.
“We then knew what we had to do (against Falkirk GHG), win by more than 14 goals, and the guys went about the job in a professional manner. The scoreline could have been bigger had Falkirk’s goalkeeper, Jamie Ballantyne, who used to play for Inverleith, not had such a good game.”
Division 1 (men): Grange 7, Western 6; Dundee Wanderers 5, Falkirk GHG 3; Inverleith 5, Grove Menzieshill 4; Western 7, Hillhead 5; Falkirk GHG 2, Kelburne 12; Dundee Wanderers 10, Grange 6; Grove Menzieshill 9, Western 2; Inverleith 18, Falkirk GHG 2; Kelburne 12, Grange 5; Hillhead 7, Dundee Wanderers 4.