Tranent Juniors boss Gary Small has warned his club’s Premier League rivals to write them off at their peril in the hunt for a promotion place.
The Belters were made bookies favourites for the second tier title prior to the start of the campaign, despite this being their first season at this level following their South Division championship triumph.
Tranent have recorded just four victories from their opening 12 matches, with Small blaming a lack of consistency in selection for their lacklustre start.
He is confident they can still compete for a top-three finish, however. Victory over bottom club Armadale Thistle at Foresters Park tomorrow would catapult them up to sixth having spent much of the campaign at the other end of the table.
“It’s been a stop-start to the season. We’ve had players leaving, boys injured and on holiday, it’s been difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever had the chance to put a consecutive team on the park and that doesn’t help,” said Small.
“We’ve picked up recently in the league and we’re still in all the cups. People keep saying it has been a really poor season for us, it has been poor by my standards but people forget we are joint seventh and we’re still in all the cups. If we win in the Scottish a week on Saturday there’s every chance we’ll be in all the cups going into 2017.
“This league is all about putting two or three wins together then it can propel you up the table. I’ve always thought we could go on a ten-game run or whatever and I still maintain that.”
Small’s men recorded their first clean sheet in the league last week at St Andrews in a 1-0 win. He says they have to keep the ball out the back of the net and improve their home form if they aim to challenge come the end of the season.
He added: “Our biggest problem this season for us has been conceding too many goals. Saturday was our first clean sheet in the league and that’s 12 games in, it’s not good enough.
“We’ll continue to look to add where we can and hopefully strengthen going into the second half of the season. I genuinely still think we can make a good bid for the top three, but to do that we need to perform better at home.”