Lothian Thistle look to extend home run

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale with the trophy
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale with the trophy
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Having last week won the Central Taxis Premier Division title, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale will turn their attention to cup glory when they entertain Lowland League club East Kilbride tomorrow at Saughton Enclosure.

Kevin Twaddle’s Lothian side are defending a year-long unbeaten run at home, and the manager expects his club’s proud record to be severely tested in South Challenge Cup semi-final tie.

“It’s a great achievement to reach the latter stages of such a prestigious cup,” said Twaddle. “It will be a real tough game against a side I’ve watched and admired. But, we go into the match having not lost a game at Saughton Enclosure in more than a year, and with the displays the boys have been showing recently, we will be very confident.”

Lothian’s Connor McDonald is carrying a niggling injury and may not be fit, while team-mate Alan McDonaugh is suspended.

On the final matchday of the league, Civil Service Strollers and Heriot-Watt University – the two sides consigned to ending the campaign in the bottom two places – will meet each other at Marine Drive.

Strollers boss Ross McNeil is willing his side to cap their campaign with victory. He said: “I’m looking forward to our last game, and it’s important that we sign off with a win.”

Strollers’ new signing Steven Moncur, who has arrived from Craigroyston, is out, but otherwise McNeil has a full squad from which to choose.

Fifth-placed Edinburgh University and second-placed Craigroyston can not climb the table but will look to consolidate their positions and avoid dropping down the rankings when they meet at Peffermill.

Uni manager Dorian Ogunro expects a stiff challenge from long-time title challengers Craigie. He said: “We haven’t played Craigroyston since the beginning of the season. They were already a good side then and they have improved since.”

M eanwhile, Craigroyston assistant manager Gary Sutherland admits his club already has one eye on the 2014-15 campaign. He said: “The gaffer and I have already started planning for next season so we can push even harder for the title. For now, we want to finish as high as possible and will be treating this game as very important.”

At Fernieside, Tynecastle, who remain with a chance of finishing second, will target a strong finish to their campaign at home to Spartans.

Tynie could be without a number of players who are unavailable over Easter weekend. “Our choice of starting eleven is very much restricted,” said Dougie Dalgleish.