THE East of Scotland football season kicks off on Saturday with a full card of League Cup fixtures, writes John Slorance.
Fresh blood has been injected into many teams and all clubs are full of hope for the forthcoming term which will no doubt bring about its share of ups and downs, joy and despair.
Gala Fairydean travel for their first game against Edinburgh University at Peffermill. The Dean have already met the Students in a friendly, and won, and Gala manager Fraser Lothian told TheSouthern: “It will be a completely different sort of game on Saturday. We know what to expect, however, and I think we can do well.
“Things have been shaping up well at training and in the friendlies, and everybody is looking forward to Saturday’s match.”
Selkirk take the trip across the Border to do battle with Berwick Rangers Reserves and manager Bryan Templeton commented: “We had a good workout against Hawick Waverley last Saturday and our pre-season games have gone okay.
“However, we have unfortunately not been able to field a full-strength side as yet, due to players being on holiday. When everybody is back in the squad I think we will be able to do well.
“We have got three new boys from North Berwick and they have been really looking the part, and are going to be good signings.”
Vale of Leithen have a formidable task on their hands in taking on hot-shots Spartans at Victoria Park.
Vale boss Robbie Horn is well aware of what the current premier league champions are all about, however, and told us: “Games don’t get any more difficult than playing Spartans and we couldn’t have asked for a tougher opening game than this one.
“However, we are at home and it’s a match we are looking forward to.
“We have had some good results pre-season and I feel we have a strong squad. Some players have moved on from last season and some have stayed, while a few new faces have been brought in. There is good spirit within the side and we will give Spartans a game.”
Kelso United, who have added former manager Peter McNulty to their coaching staff, entertain Easthouses Lily at Woodside Park.
Tweedsiders manager Prof Blaikie said: “It’s great to have Peter back on board. He knows his football and will be a big asset to the club. We have lost four of our pre-season games, but we have been up against good sides and haven’t been playing badly.
“Easthouses are always hard to play against, though.”
Hawick Royal Albert hit the road to tangle with Ormiston and Teries’ coach David Aitken has high hopes his side can do well.
“Our only win last season was at Ormiston and since then we have built up the squad,” he explained. “We are capable of getting a result should it be a win or a draw.
“Although it won’t happen overnight, I feel the Albert could do okay this season and I don’t think we will get some of the pastings we have had in the past. Things are going very well at the club and there has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. All we need now is to get it right on the park.”
Peebles Rovers manager Stuart Robertson will not see his side in action in their home tie with Coldstream due to being on holiday in Florida. Prior to jetting off, however, he told us: “Nicky Cairns will be in charge, so I know the side will be in good hands.
“We have a few new players so they will be getting the opportunity to find their feet.
“What we learned playing Coldstream last season means nothing as they now have a new manager and different players.
“We will be playing the unknown and will just have to wait and see what happens.”