Leith Athletic boss Derek Riddel admits he is relishing this weekend’s Football Nation Qualifying Cup third-round clash with Capital rivals Spartans having watched his side return to the summit of the East of Scotland League.
With the rest of the division left idle as a result of the freezing weather, the reigning champions took full advantage by registering a thumping 5-0 victory over Eyemouth United at Meadowbank 3G on Saturday, with winger Scott Wilson grabbing a brace.
But, having already conquered Lowland League opposition in Preston Athletic this term, Riddel says his players are more than capable of repeating the feat this weekend.
“We always want to pitch ourselves against the best teams so I love it when we go up against these Lowland League sides as it gives us a chance to go out there and show how capable we are,” he said. “We’ve already run Cumbernauld Colts close a couple of times in the Scottish Cup, we’ve beaten Preston in the previous round of this competition so this is the level we want to play at every week.
“We’ll go there as massive underdogs but it’s exciting.”
Riddel admitted he underlined to his squad prior to Saturday’s encounter the importance of winning at all costs against the Borders side.
“It was one of the things we said to the guys before the game,” he explained.
“It was a big chance to get ourselves back to the top with the rest of the games being called off so I’m delighted we’re back there.
“I hadn’t seen Eyemouth play this season. I’d spoken to a couple of people before the game about them but I was always prefer to see the teams we play against with my own eyes.
“They’ve done really well this season as they’ve already won the same amount of games they did across the whole of last year so that shows the marked improvements they’ve made.
“We probably could have played better but we took our chances.
“We’ve just got to make sure we win all our home games and then pick up as many points as we can away from home. We are under no illusions – we won the league last year so we definitely want more of the same this season.”