Albert can expect a right royal battle

RIVALRY between Borders clubs in East of Scotland footballing circles is passionate and fierce and Selkirk’s scheduled home meeting with Gala Fairydean on Saturday certainly fits this bill – and a little more besides, writes John Slorance.

Selkirk coach Aaron Biggs told TheSouthern: “Derby games are always special, especially against Gala Fairydean, and I think this one could be a real humdinger.

“We were disappointed to lose to Duns in our last match as we dominated most of the game, but couldn’t take our chances. Hopefully, we can improve on this against Gala.”

Selkirk have Jamie Gibson and Bruce Connelly suspended.

Fresh from an excellent King Cup triumph over Eyemouth United, Fairydean will go into the game with confidence and Gala manager Garry Fraser told us: “We had been on a losing run before the Eyemouth game and Jim McLean and myself spoke to the players about this before the kick-off and told them they were a lot better than the results suggested. The guys responded by giving a great performance, and although Jack Hay will grab the headlines in having scored five goals, which was a fantastic achievement in East of Scotland football, we won the match through a team show.”

Fraser added: “We have beaten Selkirk 3-0 this season so they have a point to prove and we are well aware of this. As it is a derby game, it is liable to be a blood and guts affair and anything could happen.”

Fairydean welcome back Rob Hewitson and Paul Sutherland.

Hawick Royal Albert entertain Peebles Rovers at Albert Park. Both sides tumbled to big defeats in their last outing, so Saturday is an ideal opportunity to climb out of the doldrums. The current Hawick squad has a strong connection with Peebles, through brothers Ronald and Raymond Fleming, Bobby Nwanze and Greg Young.

Albert coach Owen Murphy held a similar post with Peebles while Hawick team boss Graeme Chadwick managed the Whitestone Park outfit for a brief spell.

Ronald Fleming commented: “Like ourselves, Peebles are looking for points to improve their league position, so there is a lot to play for on Saturday and it is very important. We had a lot of guys missing against Spartans last week, but they are all back and because of this I can see us winning by two or three goals.”

Ryan Shepherd, Raymond Fleming, Greg Young and Peter Keenan all return to the Hawick squad, which also includes new signings Gordon Ramsay and Martin King.

Elsewhere, Kelso United and Vale of Leithen travel to Edinburgh to take on Craigroyston and Civil Service Strollers respectively.