SELKIRK FC chairman Ross Anderson has denied rumours that striker Romero Aguilera is set to leave the club.
The former Real Mallorca forward failed to show up for last weekend’s South Region Challenge Cup match against Vale of Leithen, leaving the Yarrow Park club with only 10 players.
It is believed the Spaniard did not wish to play after an argument with teammates, but Anderson quashed suggestions he was returning home this month for good.
Anderson said: “He is returning home to Majorca, but only to help run the family restaurant for three weeks.
“We want him here for the long term, so if he has to go home for a month every now and then it is not a problem.
“It has been difficult for him because he speaks little English and the weather has been poor, so he has struggled to adapt both on and off the pitch. We will not see the best of him until the weather and pitches improve.”
Selkirk boss Mike McKinnon described last Saturday’s lack of personnel as “embarrassing”, but praised his side’s fighting spirit in a 2-0 loss at Poltonhall’s all-weather pitch.
McKinnon added: “We had team problems and only had 11 players available for the match.
“However, after arriving at the ground I was informed that a player who had neither phoned or texted me had cried off.
“So we had to play with 10 men or put off the game and it was an embarrassing situation for the club.
“We played, though, and the way things worked out for something that was quite bizarre could well have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
“The boys were just phenomenal.”
An icy wind cut across the Poltonhall pitch, meaning the game was never likely to be a classic and it appeared it was going to be a long afternoon for McKinnon and his depleted team when Vale opened the scoring after five minutes through Andy Martin’s goal.
Robbie Horn’s men dominated the first half as expected, but were denied further goals by John Dodds who saved efforts from Jordan Hall, Liam McKenna and Ryan McKenzie.
At the other end, Vale keeper Chris Hill had seen little action, but at the start of the second half Selkirk midfielder Ryan McManus forced his way into the penalty area and his attempt to guide the ball home was thwarted by the stopper’s outstretched leg.
Despite the Souters now having the wind at their backs, this was only a temporary blip and the one-way traffic continued towards Dodds’ goal with Vale creating chance after chance, while Selkirk defended doggedly.
McKenzie slipped a ball through for Scott Moffat, whose shot flew inches past the upright, a McKenna cross found Martin in front of goal, but his shot sailed over the bar, and a Hall drive was gathered at the second attempt by Dodds.
It appeared it could be one of those days when Selkirk would grab a shock equaliser, despite creating virtually nothing.
But three minutes from time Vale’s two substitutes combined to assure their place in the next round when Jamie Lauder sent a ball across for John Ferguson, who composed himself before firing past Dodds from 10 yards out.
Selkirk are due to host Leith Athletic tomorrow in the Premier Division, but with Yarrow Park unlikely to be playable, club officials have requested the game be held at Leith’s Muirhouse ground.
As The Wee Paper went to press, Selkirk’s request had not yet received a reply from the East of Scotland League.
Speaking ahead of the match, McKinnon said: “This sort of performance (in the Vale match) has given us a big lift for the Leith Athletic game.
“It’s a massive game for us as we really need a win to start climbing up the league.
“There is a lot of pressure on us, but we have Jason Inglis, Euan Pritchard and Jamie Gibson back, and that is a boost.
“We want three points and will be going all-out to get them.”
Anderson added: “It was a really good performance by the team against Vale under the circumstances and if we continue to play like that for the rest of the season I am sure we will stay up.”
Elsewhere, Selkirk Victoria have decided to give up home advantage in an effort to play their South Cup second round clash with Langholm Legion.
The Vics have been forced to cancel the tie three times because of the state of their Yarrow Park pitch, and will now head to the Muckle Toon tomorrow to get the game played.