Whitehill Welfare’s Youseff Bejaoui sure the EoS title chase will be a nailbiter

Whitehill Welfare goalkeeper Youssef Bejaoui expects this season’s East of Scotland Premier Division to be more competitive and exciting than the Lowland League they have just been relegated from as they look to make an instant return.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 6:30 am
Youssef Bejaou, has joined old friends at Whitehill Welfare, including former Penicuik coach Craig Meikle

It’s all change at Ferguson Park this season as the Rosewell men have a new management team in place and a plethora of new signings, while alterations have also been made off the park.

Bejaoui, who is certain to start against former club Penicuik Athletic two and a half years after leaving them when the new season gets underway tomorrow, is confident manager Craig Meikle has assembled a squad which will be able to compete at the top end of the table.

“You would almost think it is rigged! It is probably the best game we could’ve got; to start the league off you might as well play one of the top teams in the league,” said Bejaoui, one of several former Cuikie players brought in by ex Penicuik manager Meikle this season.

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“Penicuik is a great club, I loved my time at Penicuik; there is great people there who are still there. It will be a good game and it should be a good crowd as well. It is good for the league getting more people through the gate.

“The East of Scotland is probably going to be more interesting than the Lowland League. The Premier, with some of the teams in it, will be a lot more competitive I think than the Lowland League. In the Lowland you have that top four then that will be it, whereas in this league I think there is probably five or six teams that could potentially win it.

“We should be up there, I don’t see why not. We have a good squad with good young players like Kieran Somerville and Kevin Keane, then we’ve got players like Janny [Neil Janczyk]. It will be a tough league, I don’t think there will be an outright winner, I reckon it will be pretty close.

“All the former Penicuik boys had a laugh when we saw the fixture. I think everybody has fond memories of their time at Penicuik, a lot of the boys left the season we won the East of Scotland Cup against Bonnyrigg, so everybody had a great time at Penicuik.”

Bejaoui quit Penicuik after a three-and-a-half year spell due to increasing work commitments, but he’s kept himself fit since then, latterly plying his trade with leading Edinburgh amateur outfit Tollcross Thistle.

The 33-year-old continued: “Johnny [Harvey] came in, we had a good team going and we were doing well, but stuff took over with work and I decided to take time out.

“I’ve always kept training, doing goalie training with Davie McGinley who is the goalkeeping coach at Whitehill. When Meikle got the job he kind of brought us all together again.”