Civil Service Strollers have completed the signing of Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale striker Scott Gormley and hope to give him his debut at Craigroyston tomorrow.
Manager Ross McNeil had been working on the deal to bring the experienced front man to Marine Drive for some months, and is hoping that the 34-year-old will supply further firepower to the Strollers frontline in the long-term.
“Scott hadn’t been getting a lot of game time at Lothian and he’s an experienced player who can certainly add a bit of quality to our strike-force,” he said. “James Guy and Kierian McGachie have been doing really well, but Scott will be helpful with the experience he can pass on to the younger players.”
McNeil signed a three-year contract when he took over the reins at Civil in November 2013 following his departure from Craigroyston, and is already working hard behind the scenes to enhance the profile of the club in the local community.
“Ultimately our aim has to be the Lowland League but you have to meet the SFA criteria. We are making improvements to the ground with more fencing and refreshment facilities, trying to enhance our under-19 and under-20 teams and at the moment everything is heading in the right direction.”
McNeil is still missing the suspended Dayne Robertson and Ross McWilliams for tomorrow’s match as he looks to build on an impressive 5-1 victory over Tynecastle two weeks ago, as interim manager Paul Cavanagh takes charge of Craigroyston for the first time.
Elsewhere, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale have signed 28-year-old midfielder Darren Smith from Bonnyrigg Rose as well as 18-year-old Scott Taylor-MacKenzie following his release from St Johnstone.
“I worked with Darren when I was coaching at Berwick Rangers and was really impressed with him,” said Lothian manager Kevin Twaddle. “Scott Taylor-McKenzie has made a real impression on everyone at the club since he’s come in. He will be looking to get back to full-time football in the long run, but sometimes youngsters like Scott have to take a step back in order to go forward.”
Hutchie welcome Easthouses to Saughton Enclosure tomorrow looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games, having overtaken Leith Athletic at the top of the Central Taxis Premier Division, while Lily are looking to get back to competitive action for the first time since the start of December.
Leith Athletic travel to Tynecastle with the hosts hoping to give a debut to midfielder Ryan Malcolm following his transfer from Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale. Euan MacIntosh is suspended for Tynecastle. Finally, Spartans EOS travel to bottom side Coldstream.
All matches will be subject to morning pitch inspections ahead of the 2pm kick-offs.
Heriot-Watt University head coach Chris Smith fears that a backlog of fixtures could potentially hamper his team’s long-term hopes of finishing in the play-off spots for promotion to the Premier Division.
Out of 25 matches involving East of Scotland clubs since the resumption of the league following the Christmas break, only seven have managed to beat the weather, with Heriot-Watt’s encounter with Burntisland Shipyard having to be abandoned after 40 minutes three weeks ago.
In the wake of his side’s latest call-off against Kelso United last weekend, Smith admits the situation is far from ideal.
“The problem is that temperatures are very low overnight and it’s not giving pitches the chance to thaw. We checked our pitch last Friday and it was playable then, but come Saturday morning it was solid and slippy and we had to make a decision to call it off.
“A lot of our players have exams in spring, and if there are midweek games to fulfil they aren’t going to be available.”
The students are scheduled to face Eyemouth United tomorrow at Warner Park, whilst Brian Johnston’s Ormiston will be hoping to keep their title ambitions on track when they travel to Kelso United.
Both matches (kick-off 2pm) and will be subject to morning pitch inspections.