Musselburgh's Calvin Shand plays down derby with a twist
Tonight's Super League encounter between Musselburgh Athletic and Newtongrange Star isn't just any old derby match.
Former Burgh boss Stevie McLeish swapped East Lothian for Midlothian with a switch to New Victoria Park at the end of last season, taking seven players with him.
Down the road, Calvin Shand was swiftly brought in to replace McLeish, the former Hibs coach getting five of last season’s Newtongrange squad to sign on the dotted line as he brought in an entirely new team.
Therefore there is added intrigue to tonight’s match, although Shand insists his men are treating it no differently to any other game.
“It’s just another 90 minutes for us,” said Shand. “It’s a home game and that’s why it’s important to us because we need to win our home games.
“I think it’s sometimes built up to more than what it is. I know a few boys have switched sides. Both teams will want to win but off the pitch most of the boys are pals.
“I’d imagine they’ll be favourites and probably quite rightly so. It’s just down to us to go and show what we’ve got.”
Burgh have started the season well under the command of Shand, with former Olivebank midfielder Kevin McDonald as his assistant. They beat title favourites Bo’ness United 1-0 on the opening day before drawing 1-1 with Penicuik the following midweek.
They suffered their first loss, but weren’t disgraced on Saturday as they went down 3-1 to Kelty Hearts.
Shand continued: “We’ve probably exceeded expectations in terms of our performances so far.
“I couldn’t be happier with the group I’ve brought in and the way they’ve been so far in terms of their attitude and application. They’ve become a close group really quickly.”
Star go into this evening’s match on the back of two defeats and will be desperate to salvage points to lift them up the table at this early stage of the campaign.
Elsewhere, champions Bonnyrigg Rose host Penicuik Athletic at New Dundas Park, while Linlithgow Rose seek their second win of the season at home to Broxburn Athletic. Bo’ness United visit Fauldhouse United on the back of Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Carnoustie Panmure.
In the Premier League, there are two local derby clashes as Tranent boss Gary Small returns to Haddington Athletic where he was previously assistant manager and Dalkeith Thistle take on Arniston Rangers in their first home game this season.
All matches kick-off at 6.45pm.