Leith take on Civil Service in relegation battle

Jack Combe has returned to Leaith Athletic. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Jack Combe has returned to Leaith Athletic. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Leith Athletic and Civil Service Strollers will both seek a win to help pull them clear of the foot of the Central Taxis Premier Division when they face each other on Meadowbank 3G’s pitch tomorrow.

The pair are just a point apart, sandwiching Heriot-Watt University in the bottom three, but Leith have four games in hand over basement side Strollers.

Both teams tasted defeat last weekend and Leith boss Derek Riddel insists his charges must remain focused to have a chance of victory.

“Civil Service are in a transitional period at the moment and they come into the game on the back of a few defeats,” explained Riddel, “but, we can’t allow their recent form to let us take our eye off the ball. By all accounts, I believe they were unlucky against Spartans [in a 4-0 defeat] last weekend, so it won’t be an easy fixture.”

Jack Combe, a former Athletic youth player who has recently returned to the club from Haddington Juniors, could start for the home side, with Lewis Martin also returning to Riddel’s squad. However, the hosts’ Lachlan Thom (knee) and captain Gary Black (groin) are likely to miss out.

In the First Division, second-placed Easthouses Lily can reduce league leaders Hibs’ advantage to seven points if they beat Berwick Rangers Reserves at Newbattle Complex. Berwick beat Lily 3-1 in a cup fixture last weekend and the Midlothian side’s boss Dave McQueenie is aiming for a reversal in fortunes.

“Hopefully, we can get three points to maintain the pressure on Hibs,” said McQueenie.

“By all means, it won’t be an easy game as Berwick beat us last week in the Qualifying League by sticking the chances they created into the back of the net. Hopefully, we can reverse that result.”

Ryan McQueenie, Scott Borthwick and John Baigrie all return to the Lily squad, while goalkeeper Ross Combe, on loan from Edinburgh United, is likely to deputise for John Falconer, who is expected to be out for around two months.