East of Scotland League 'helicopter Saturday' as Tranent and Penicuik Athletic take title to last day

Tranent captain Shaun Rutherford expects Jeanfield Swifts to be fired up to deny them the East of Scotland Premier title when they meet at Foresters Park tomorrow afternoon.

On a potentially momentous day for the Belters, Tranent know a victory will be enough to be crowned champions and with it a shot at promotion to the Lowland League via the play-offs.

“We know what to expect, they are a good footballing side who like to get on the ball,” said the left-back. “We played them early in the season and they won’t be coming here to lie down. It will be a really good game and hopefully we can get the right result.

“They won’t want to get beat and see the celebrations after, especially in their last game of the season, they will be wanting to end the season on a high.

Tranent and Penicuik both have the chance to land the East of Scotland Premier Division title on the last day of the season

“If we win tomorrow, we win the league so it’s in our hands, whereas Penicuik are relying on us dropping points. The boys are all pulling for each other and working hard for each other.

“Saturday is either going to be a brilliant day and night hopefully – and a good Sunday – otherwise it’s not going to be so great. I would bite your hand off for a hungover Sunday!”

With the destination of the league trophy going down to the wire with second place Penicuik Athletic level on points, but 20 goals off Tranent on goal difference, it’s the East of Scotland’s very own ‘helicopter Saturday’.

Penicuik host Linlithgow Rose so the title will be presented in East Lothian or Midlothian. Top of the table the longest this season until Tranent usurped them last month, many will argue the Cuikie have let the title slip from their grasp.

“It’s a massive, massive game for a lot of clubs this weekend,” said Penicuik boss Stevie McLeish. “There are huge, huge benefits associated with winning the league.

“It’s Tranent’s to lose for us, so we go into the match with a free hit, let’s go and get the job done. It will be difficult for us because Linlithgow are a very good side and they will be wanting to make sure we don’t win the league.

“I’d expect that from my team if it was the other way around.

“I’ve got to expect my own boys to turn up with their A-game, they are well motivated, and completely focussed on the job in hand.

“Last Saturday at Camelon I’ve not got any means of communicating what the other scores are, but that’s not say I didn’t hear the score; everyone in the crowd is telling you the score and you can hear what is going on.

“My laddie even text me at half-time, I could see it on my watch, ‘Dad you need to tell the boys it’s 2-1 to Lithgae’. What we do is only relevant and if we happen to prevail then what will be will be.

“If we end up on the same points then they deserve to win the league because they have 20 odd more goals than us, but if we win the league because they have dropped points, I’m sure Calum [Elliot, Tranent boss] would say we deserved it.

“We’ve gone right to the last game, we’ve stayed on course, and yeah there has been bumps on the road, but there isn’t a team that could go through a full season without any.”