Whitehill Welfare defender Willie Kidd accepts the club’s chances of silverware this season are limited – but insists he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The player, who celebrates his 30th birthday tomorrow, is in his second spell with the Rosewell outfit, having left the club in 2015 after five seasons to try his luck with junior sides Dalkeith Thistle and latterly Haddington Athletic.
Kidd acknowledges the current set-up seems like a lifetime ago from the squad that secured a league and cup double in 2013. Nevertheless, he remains determined to help return the club to its former glory.
As Gary Small’s men prepare to host South of Scotland League club Creetown in a South Region Challenge Cup second-round tie at Ferguson Park, the central defender says he is content just to be back amongst familiar surroundings again.
“I had a great five years with the club first time round,” Kidd recalls. “We won a few trophies and were always challenging at the top end of the league or making it through to the latter stages of cup competitions, so things are a bit different this year.
“That said, we have to be realistic and say we’ve got a very young side and it’s going to be a bit more difficult for us to compete. This is my sixth season at the club and I have a lot of good memories. I’ve got a great relationship with the committee so Whitehill will always have a special place in my heart long after my playing days are over. It was an easy decision to come back and pull on the jersey again when Gary called me up in the summer.”
Whitehill have struggled in the Lowland League so far in the campaign, picking up just ten points from a possible 36. However, Kidd is hoping victory tomorrow can be a springboard to better things.
“The South Region Challenge Cup is one of the biggest at this level so we want to do well,” he said. “I’ve got a good record as I scored two goals in the semi-final against Spartans and then got one in the final when we won it four years ago.
“I’m not really sure how Creetown play, we don’t know a lot about them but that doesn’t matter. We’ve got to go out and do a job regardless of who we’re playing. The South of Scotland League has some good teams in it so I suspect they will still be a half-decent side. First and foremost we need to get the win but it would be nice to get a few goals and keep a clean sheet. Hopefully we get a good win and then I can have a few drinks with the family at home and celebrate my birthday.”
Kidd revealed, he believes, the calibre of player in the Lowland League is improving year on year.
“The league has got a lot stronger since its first season. When it first started it was like a replica of the East of Scotland League to be honest,” he explained. “You notice games are a lot harder now, which is a good thing, so just picking up three points is a task in itself. I think even Gary underestimated just how good the league is having come from the juniors. He’s been honest enough to say it’s a lot better than what he thought it was going to be.
“I’m one of the oldest in the team so I feel the responsibility to try and rally the troops if we go a goal down or someone’s having a tough game.”
Meanwhile, both Civil Service Strollers and Edinburgh University will be looking to make amends for their Scottish Cup defeats to Highland League opposition last weekend. Strollers, who were swept aside by Brora Rangers are at Gretna 2008 while the Uni, who lost to Fraserburgh, host East of Scotland outfit Burntisland Shipyard at Peffermill, both in the South Region Challenge Cup.
Spartans claimed their place in the third round by thrashing Ormiston 9-0 last night.
Blair Atkinson scored a hat-trick, Dachi Khutsishvili got two while Craig Stevenson, Scott Wilson, Scott Maxwell and Adam Corbett were also on target.