Liberton go up after making point about rivals’ no-show

Liberton Rugby Club
Liberton Rugby Club
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Liberton Rugby Club are today celebrating a long-awaited promotion, to Division Two of the East League, after a successful appeal to the Championship committee.

Queensferry and Gala YM failed to fulfil a fixture which had a bearing on whether the Borders would go up, it was initially decided they could split the points.

Mike Steel, vice-president of Liberton, said: “We argued that it was wrong to gain points that hadn’t been earned and, fortunately, the authorities agreed, putting us second in the table ahead of Gala YM.”

Three years ago Liberton were statistically the worst team in Scotland after a 49-match losing streak.

However, Steel says that stigma was a catalyst for positive change at a club renowned for launching the late Bruce Hay on a path to two British and Irish Lions tours.

“Phil Murphy returned as coach assisted by Gary Reilly who added structure to our backs and the first win after our barren spell, against Queensferry, sparked the comeback under the captaincy of Darren Tiffney this season,” Steel added.

“There was also some welcome help from Scottish Rugby who responded to our plight by sending along coaches.

“Pre-season training starts on July 1 after we take part in the last 1 Scots sevens tournament on May 23 and there will be an extra spring in our step in looking to recruit.

“We are not daunted by going up, having previously played many of the sides we’ll now be encountering.”

n Russell McIntyre, an outstanding flanker in a Portobello side who climbed through the entire league structure to the brink of Division One in the 1980s and who later had a successful spell at Heriot’s, has died, aged 51.

A member of the Scottish Schools team featuring David Sole and Gavin Hastings which defeated England Schools, Russell was taken ill a month ago and suffered a relapse yesterday.

Double British Lion John Beattie paid tribute on social media, saying: “He was a very tough player. Russell and his brother (Stephen) were dynamic.”

n Currie hooker David Cherry has landed a professional contract with London Scottish next season.