Stirling UNIVERSITY beat Vale of Leithen 7-1 last night to clinch the East Seniors Central Taxis Premier Division championship title on goal difference from Spartans, winners of the league for the past three seasons.
Stirling only joined the East of Scotland League in season 2008-2009 and after two seasons in the First Division they were promoted. Last season, they finished as runners-up to Spartans in the Premier and this season they have gone one better.
Their victory also means that, as champions, they will be given a place in next season’s William Hill Scottish Cup, their historic first entry into the national competition.
Stirling’s goal difference was four better than Spartans who had set the students a target of beating Vale by at least two goals after the Ainslie Park outfit beat Whitehill Welfare 5-4 last Friday evening.
Mike Lawson, the Spartans co-manager, was full of praise for Stirling University and said: “I have to offer my congratulations to our previous coach, Raleigh Gowrie, who put the entire infrastructure at Stirling University into place. I always maintained that Stirling would be the top dogs one day as they offer scholarships at a top sporting university and have the correct balance between sport and academic studies.”
Lawson did not watch last night’s encounter although he admitted that the end of this season’s Premier Division was a “real anti-climax,” adding: “If both Stirling’s and Spartans’ final games had been played on the same night it might have been easier to take.
“However, we did not lose the league last night, we did not lose the league when we beat Whitehill 5-4 on Friday night and we did not lose it when we lost to Stirling 1-0 ten days ago. We lost it when we took only one point from a possible six against Edinburgh University and then recently we took only one point out of six in our two games against Leith Athletic and Vale of Leithen.
“Winning leagues is not easy and we have to hold our hands up and say that Stirling University are the best team in the East of Scotland League. They are now the benchmark and people should forget about Spartans because Stirling are now the team to catch.”
Stirling’s victory against Vale of Leithen saw Chris Geddes notch a hat-trick to take his tally for the season to an incredible 50 goals. Danny Denholm, Liam Corr, Creag Robertson and Eddie Dines also scored after Vale had taken an early lead through Jordan Hall.
Gordon Dick, the Stirling University coach, said: “The boys have been tremendous and this is a massive achievement for Stirling University.
“We have brought a different type of football to the league and we have proved over the course of the season that we are the best team in the league. The boys showed great character because, only two months ago, we were 15 points behind Spartans.”
The two teams meet each other on Saturday in the final of the King Cup at Ferguson Park, Rosewell.