Blend of youth and experience key to Hutchison Vale's impressive campaign

Hutchison Vale are just one league win away from matching last season’s total number of victories in the East of Scotland Premier Division
Derby clash: Hutchison Vale host Tynecastle at Ainslie Park tomorrow. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)Derby clash: Hutchison Vale host Tynecastle at Ainslie Park tomorrow. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Derby clash: Hutchison Vale host Tynecastle at Ainslie Park tomorrow. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Ryan Harding’s side are enjoying the giddy heights of second spot in the table as they look certain to build on last year’s tenth place finish.

League leaders Broxburn Athletic are the team to catch but Stevie Pittman’s side will be hard to stop with a 13-point lead over Hutchie.

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“It’s one thing about this league, any team if you can put a run together, you are going to put yourself in a position to be up there competing,” said boss Harding. “At the start of the season you look at budgets and any betting man would look at Musselburgh, Broxburn, Sauchie and Jeanfield as being the teams be up there.

“To be in that pack at the moment, to be sitting in second place, we are doing well. We always say every season we want progression. A couple of seasons ago when Tranent were promoted, we survived because of them winning the play-off, and then last season we turned it around to finish mid-table, which was good.

“We deserve to be there, because we’ve played Broxburn home and away, we’ve played Jeanfield home and away, we’ve played Sauchie home and away, and we’ve played Musselburgh. We’ve played most of the heavy hitters.

“The only reason teams haven’t got close to Broxburn, is because they have been relentless. I have seen Broxburn a few times this season and there are games they haven’t played well in, but they’ve still won, and for me that’s the sign of a good team.

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“They deserve to be there, they’ve been brilliant. I do think Broxburn will run away with it now, I think will go ahead and win the league. They know how to see out games, they have a lot of good quality and a lot of experience in the team.”

Hutchie have lost just two of their last eight league encounters, winning six, with both defeats coming against the league leaders.

Harding believes adding experience to compliment their talented young players has been key to their form.

Ahead of hosting local rivals Tynecastle tomorrow, he continued: “On the run we have been on, the only two defeats we’ve had in the league were against Broxburn, there is no shame in that. The lads have been brilliant. All we can do is keep putting pressure on the teams round about us and look to finish as high up the league as we can.

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“We have a right good bunch. We always try and help as much as we can but ultimately it’s down to the players. They are the ones who set the standards, and they are the ones that have went on that run.

We’ve always had right good young players, but this season we’ve brought in a bit more experience and quality, and that has helped the young boys. We have a good balance, not just in terms of ability, but in terms of the characters in the changing room, and I think that’s played a big part in our progression this season.

“It’s great giving young players a chance but sometimes they need someone who is a bit more streetwise and old school next to them.”

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