Ormiston aim for top five – and then a title challenge

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Ormiston manager Brian Johnstone has urged his players to secure a top-five finish this season in the East of Scotland League – and then start plotting a title challenge next year.

The East Lothian side have been one of the division’s form outfits recently, their 1-0 defeat of league leaders Leith Athletic at Meadowbank on Tuesday night adding to their impetus. Midfielder Michael Osborne scored the only goal of the game in the first half.

The Recreation Park men do have five games in hand over Leith however, with a 28-point deficit to make up, Johnstone concedes the title is well out of reach.

“I don’t think we can win the league even with the games we’ve got in hand but I definitely think we’ll have a say in who will win in it,” he said.

“We’ve beaten Leith twice this season so to take six points from them is a great achievement. If we can get a top-five finish this year then I’d be absolutely delighted. We could still even finish as high as second so there’s still plenty to play for. But, I’d like to think the majority of the guys will stay on next season and if they do then we can be serious title contenders.

“It was great performance from the team the other night and we thoroughly deserved the victory. We had the more clear-cut chances. I think Leith’s Twitter page summed it up where it said: ‘it was a well-organised and committed performance from Ormiston’.

Johnstone has promised to make some alterations to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s trip to Saughton to play six-placed Tynecastle.

“I will be making a couple of changes,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have Daryl Burdett back as he missed out the other night against Leith through an Achilles injury but Scott Devlin is missing as he’s on holiday.

“It’s another tough test against an experienced Tynecastle side. They beat us 6-5 earlier on in the season but we’ll go there full of confidence. There’s no expectations on us.”

Elsewhere, Craigroyston travel to Fife to lock horns with Burntisland Shipyard, the hosts without a league victory at home this season. Derek Riddel’s Leith are also on the road as they face a tough test down at Peebles Rovers and Spartans host Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, who suffered a 2-1 defeat at the expense of Stirling University on Wednesday night, at Ainslie Park.

In the King Cup first round, Civil Service Strollers are at home to Hawick Royal Albert.