Prof rues fixture ‘farce’

KELSO UNITED and Hawick Royal Albert clashed at Woodside Park recently in an East of Scotland First Division match, with the Tweedsiders emerging 7-3 victors, writes John Slorance.

This Saturday, the two sides face each other again in league business, with Albert Park this time the venue. Having games like this so close together is becoming a regular feature in the East of Scotland scene – it occurred last Saturday as well.

And, according to Kelso manager Prof Blaikie, is becoming a farcical situation. He told TheSouthern: “I would like to sit down with the guy who makes up the fixtures and ask him why he keeps throwing teams together back-to-back.

“We just played Hawick the other week. We have already played Coldstream and Duns this season and come November we will play them both again.

“These are all Border derby matches, there should be time between these games. It makes you think that they pull straws out of a hat to arrange games.

“In fact it’s Mickey Mouse stuff that is happening and it devalues the league. Surely the fixtures can be juggled around a little more and space be given between games. It’s just common sense.”

Looking ahead, Blaikie added: “Our recent win over Hawick was a well-deserved one. However, they will be looking for revenge and are at home, and matches are always hard for us at Albert Park. It will be a difficult game, but we can get a result.”

Liam Wallace, John McCutcheon and Davie Richardson return to the Kelso squad.

Hawick parade new signings, goalkeeper Ross Taylor and central defender Andy Whitson, who were trialists last Saturday in the Albert’s triumph over Duns.

In another derby tussle, Gala Fairydean host neighbours Selkirk.

Fairydean manager Garry Fraser said: “This will be the first Gala-Selkirk game for five years, as the two sides have been in different divisions and have never met in cup ties. In the past, these games have always had a bit of a bite to them as the two towns are so close, and I am sure this one will be the same.”

Gala have added to their squad by signing Darren Bowie from Kelso United.

Selkirk manager Mike McKinnon said: “After our disappointing show against Vale in the Scottish Cup this is a good game to get. Derby games are all about bragging rights, so I shouldn’t have to fire up the players.”

Euan Pritchard, Barry Milven and Kenny Munro are all out for Selkirk, while Jason Inglis is a doubtful starter.

Peebles Rovers lock horns with Ormiston and, in the Premier Division, Vale of Leithen travel to take on Stirling University.