Whitehill WELFARE clinched the Central Taxis Premier Division title with a 1-0 victory against Gretna 2008 thanks to a wonder goal from striker Wayne McIntosh as the club’s nearest challengers, Spartans, were beaten 2-0 away from home by Stirling University.
This was an emotional championship win for the Whitehill manager, Mike Lawson, who was controversially sacked by Spartans last summer. “I feel 20 years younger and feel as if I can go on forever. I have really enjoyed this season and so have our players. Being sacked by Spartans at the end of last season has rejuvenated me and maybe I needed a fresh challenge having been over ten years with Spartans.
“I can, hand on heart, say that I really enjoyed winning this title and it is probably better than winning any other even although I had previously won it with both Whitehill and Spartans on numerous occasions. Maybe I had a point to prove after leaving Spartans because, within two days of being sacked, Whitehill were on the telephone asking me to go and chat to them. Then, as soon as I heard some of the players’ names who were being retained, I said that I could turn these players into a winning unit. Football is all about players and that’s exactly what we did.
“However, I have to give credit to my predecessors at Ferguson Park – Rab Paget, Grant Carnie and Kevin Twaddle – who had already assembled the nucleus of the squad.
“I think that I know how to get the best out of players and although the dressing-room has been volatile at times, I think that we were far better disciplined in the last two months of the season than we were back in August and September.
“I’m also delighted for all of the backroom staff including my assistant, Mike Irving, and coaches Scott Cantley and Dougie Hewat, along with everyone else connected with Whitehill Welfare Football Club.
“This is my third spell as manager of Whitehill Welfare and we have managed to win the league during all of these periods. However, I am sure that this is the first occasion, even when I was with Spartans, that our team has won every home league game. We won all 11 this season scoring 30 goals and conceding nine.
“Against Gretna last night I felt that they were better than us and they fought for everything. It needed a World Cup goal from Wayne to earn us the win although we had to endure a nervous last 30 minutes.”
McIntosh’s goal was a moment of magic when a fantastic Andrew Kidd pass was volleyed into the net by Whitehill’s top goalscorer. There was great relief at the final whistle followed by great celebrations when news of the Spartans defeat to Stirling University filtered through. Whitehill have now won the East of Scotland League a record 16 times.
Meanwhile, Spartans’ hopes of overtaking Whitehill to lift the title were dashed against the students of Stirling University who went on to win 2-0 after Spartans’ captain Robbie Manson was sent off on the half hour. Substitute Calum Burns fired Stirling ahead in the second half then Paul Sludden netted in stoppage time with the aid of a deflection.
Tynecastle kept alive their hopes of avoiding relegation to the First Division when they beat Vale of Leithen 6-2 while, in the First Division, Coldstream are favourites to join Craigroyston in next season’s Premier Division after they beat Peebles Rovers 4-0.
Elsewhere, Easthouses Lily defeated Hawick Royal Albert 5-0 and Ormiston overcame Gala Fairydean 4-0.