Spartans can put '˜one hand on title' with win over East Kilbride

Winger Alan Brown believes victory over reigning Lowland League champions East Kilbride tomorrow will see Spartans put one hand on this season's league trophy.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 2nd February 2018, 5:30 am
Alan Brown, right, is relishing tomorrow's clash with East Kilbride
Alan Brown, right, is relishing tomorrow's clash with East Kilbride

The Capital outfit trail their opponents by six points but have four games in hand ahead of this weekend’s mouthwatering contest at Ainslie Park.

This season has been the most hotly contested in recent years with BSC Glasgow and East Stirlingshire also vying for the division’s top prize.

Former Whitehill Welfare star Brown is mindful of how much football is still to be played between now and May but says securing all three points against Billy Stark’s side would help steer them home.

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“If we can get the win this weekend then we’d be confident we’d have one hand on the trophy,” said the 32-year-old, who was part of the Spartans squad that won the inaugural Lowland League title in 2014. “That said, we’ve still got a lot to do so you can never take anything for granted. If we can pick up the three points it will make us massive favourites to go on and win the league.

“If East Kilbride were to come away with the points, though, then it blows it wide open again. Football can be a funny old game. We’ve still got to play East Stirlingshire twice too so something has got to give there. It’s a really big few weeks ahead for all the teams.”

Brown revealed that Dougie Samuel’s squad had mixed feelings regarding last week’s postponement at Hawick Royal Albert. With Spartans left idle, title rivals Kilby, East Stirlingshire and BSC all picked up morale-boosting wins.

“I think some of us were quite happy it was off to be honest as the state of the pitch would have made it a real leveller,” he explained. “We’d rather play Hawick in decent and fairer conditions, even though they’ve really struggled this year. They ran East Kilbride down there really close so we don’t want any slip-ups. But we want to start putting more points on the board because right now these three other teams are picking up points. We don’t want to find that all these postponements come back to haunt us if we’re having to go and play two or three times a week just to catch up.

“But we’re in a good place just now because we’ve got a real good blend of experience with some of the younger ones coming through. There’s no egos around the dressing-room so this is the best chance we’ve had at winning the league since we won it in 2014.

“We’ve had a few lying low this week with the flu but we should be fine for this weekend. We’ve got a big enough and good enough squad so everyone is going to be involved 
between now and the end of the season so it’s horses for courses. You always find you raise your game in these big matches as the adrenaline takes over.

“It’s without doubt the biggest game of the season so far and one that we fully intend to win. We got a decent draw at BSC a few weeks ago so we’ll be looking to go one better this weekend.”

Brown singled out praise for recent signing Jason Stevens who arrived from Vale on Leithen in November and he is urging the striker to inflict some damage on the Kilby defence tomorrow.

“Jason has been great since he came to the club and has brought another dimension to the side. He’s got pace, he’s strong and it gives competition for the likes of Ross Allum and the other strikers at the club. He’s been a really good addition,” Brown added.

Elsewhere, Civil Service Strollers are hopeful their trip to Hawick goes ahead while Edinburgh University host Dalbeattie Star at East Peffermill.

Meanwhile, Whitehill Welfare could close the gap on seventh-placed Stirling University to one point with victory over Gretna 2008 at Raydale Park.