Leith Athletic and Lothian Thistle vie for cup run

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Leith Athletic and Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale meet tomorrow to vie for a place in the latter stages of the South Challenge Cup, with the incentive a tie against South of Scotland opposition in the next round.

Tomorrow at Meadowbank 3G, Leith face a Lothian team whom they have already beaten in a key cup tie, with Derek Riddel’s men pulling off a shock victory in the Alex Jack Cup final in early-November, a match that spelled the end of Grant Carnie’s reign at Lothian and opened the way for Kevin Twaddle to take over at Saughton Enclosure.

“This is the biggest cup competition available to us and the winner of this tie faces a test against a South of Scotland side, which itself is an added incentive to progress,” said Leith boss Riddel. “We’ve had two close games with Lothian this season and I suspect that tomorrow will be another close encounter.

“We didn’t play particularly well last week [in a draw at home to Heriot-Watt], but we’ve done well lately and I’m looking for the players to kick on and hopefully continue our good form in the cups.”

Lothian supremo Twaddle, meanwhile, anticipates a tough challenge against a club he admires. “It’s always a tough game against Leith, especially at their ground,” he said. “They’re a very good football team, so it will be tough, but the boys go there on a good wee run.

“Leith are a very good passing side and have a really good captain [Gary Black] at sweeper and a good coach in Derek.”

The Lothian duo of John McDonald and Grant Munro are carrying injuries and may not recover sufficiently in time to play.