Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and Leith Athletic will do battle again in the final of The Image Printers East of Scotland Qualifying Cup at St Mark’s Park on Sunday (2.30pm).
Lothian secured the Central Taxis Premier Division title last weekend with a 4-0 away victory against Leith but manager Raymond Carr believes the final will be a different proposition and is anticipating a very entertaining game.
“Both teams will be at their very best for sure, a lot has been spoken about Leith fielding a weakened team last weekend but that wasn’t true,” said Carr.
“They did rest a few of their more experienced bodies ahead of the game on Sunday and you can totally understand Derek’s (Riddel) reasons for doing so.
“Lothian Thistle and Leith Athletic pride themselves on developing youngsters from a very young age and you have to give everyone an opportunity to play in the first team if they are good enough and you feel it is the right time to do so.”
Lothian will be hoping to add a second piece of silverware in their final match of the season having knocked out Whitehill Welfare and Gretna 2008 of The Lowland League in the competition.
“Last weekend was a great celebration for the players but this is a cup final and it’s against a side who, over the piece of the season, were the more consistent side in terms of the results they achieved,” added Carr.
“I’m not taking anything away from our players, but Leith enjoyed a long spell at the top of the league and possibly the extra cup games they had to play took its toll on them a bit.”
“The fact that both teams defeated Lowland League opposition to get to the final speaks volumes of the East of Scotland league.”
John Williams is unavailable for Lothian while Willis Hare is suspended following his dismissal last Saturday.
Derek Riddel is expected to welcome back 30-goal striker Keith Murray and goalkeeper Iain Gordon to his side for Sunday’s final after both were rested last weekend.
Captain Gary Black and Grant Burns have renewed their contracts for next term ahead of Sunday’s final with Athletic hoping to conclude a very encouraging season by winning three trophies.
Athletic triumphed 3-1 on penalties against Lowland League champions Edinburgh City in the semi-final of the competition back in February.
Admission for Sunday’s match is £5 for adults with £3 for concessions.