Civil Service Strollers target Irn-Bru Cup berth after strong start to league
Utility man David Churchill is adamant Civil Service Strollers boast enough quality among their ranks to achieve a top-four finish and seal a first ever appearance in next season's Irn-Bru Cup.
Gary Jardine’s side registered an emphatic 6-0 victory over Gretna 2008 last weekend to set them up perfectly for an intriguing clash with Kelty Hearts at Christie Gillies Park tomorrow.
The Fifers will arrive in the capital a wounded animal after being knocked off pole position in the table, after suffering just their second league defeat of the campaign.
Churchill is ready to take advantage of their visitors’ fragility and heap further woes on Barry Ferguson’s team as they look to reverse October’s 4-0 defeat at New Central Park.
Reflecting on the win over Gretna, which lifted Strollers back up to fifth spot, the 21-year-old said: “It was good to go down to there and take all three points. It certainly made the journey back up the road a lot easier!
“I think we needed an emphatic result like that to prove we mean business this season. It was a strong all-round team performance and we could’ve perhaps scored more goals.
“The previous few weeks had been games we’ve scraped through, but a win as dominant as that will have given the boys a lot of confidence ahead of a tough match against Kelty.
“It will be another really good game against one of the strongest teams in the league. They’ve obviously got big aspirations to become an SPFL club, but I’m confident we have enough in our side to cause them problems and get the win.
“We’re probably a better team at home than we are on our travels. Kelty have got plenty of money to spend and they’ve attracted some top players recently, but we’ve got a manager who knows what it takes to beat the best sides in this league.
“Gary (Jardine) has us well-drilled and we’ve already proven in recent seasons that we can beat anyone on our day.”
Churchill believes the club have proved they are no longer pushovers.
The wingback/striker added: “We started this season brilliantly then suffered a few unlucky defeats against BSC and East Stirlingshire, which if we’d have won, I think we would be sitting in third place.
“We know we’ve got the capabilities in our team to finish in the top five this season, we just need to keep picking up points and climb the table. The gaffer wants us to take each game as they come and not look too far ahead of ourselves.
“It’s a much more competitive league this year as well, so breaking into the top five and staying there would be a great achievement.
“I sometimes think other teams treat us without the respect we deserve, but now that we’re starting to grow a reputation for ourselves by beating the top teams, it’s a very positive sign and the club is making huge strides.
“We’ve got to aim high and a top-four finish would qualify us for a place in the Irn-Bru Cup next season, which all the boys are desperate to make happen.
“We’re on track for another successful season, despite being knocked out of a few cup competitions. We finished seventh last year after getting off to a slow start, but the trophy success has given everyone a massive lift and our ambitions have been heightened as a result.”
Elsewhere this weekend, champions Spartans are targeting a fourth win on the bounce when they travel to Dalbeattie Star, while Edinburgh Uni will look to halt their mini-slump against Gala Fairydean Rovers in the Borders.
Bottom-of-the-table Whitehill Welfare play their first competitive game in over a fortnight when the Rosewell outfit pitch up at league leaders East Kilbride.