Vale of Leithen receive survival boost as drop rivals Gretna 2008 are defeated

A waterlogged Victoria Park put paid to any hope of Vale of Leithen’s home Lowland League clash against Caledonian Braves last Saturday going ahead.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 11:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 11:14 am
Vale of Leithen manager Grant Sandison watching his side being beaten 9-0 by Berwick Rangers on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Vale of Leithen manager Grant Sandison watching his side being beaten 9-0 by Berwick Rangers on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

But the basement boys’ battle against the drop was at least heartened by second bottom Gretna 2008’s 5-1 home league defeat to Rangers B.

The result means that the gap to Gretna remains six points with six league fixtures left, although the Raydale Park side no longer have a game in hand.

“It’s good that Gretna don’t have a game in hand any more,” Vale boss Grant Sandison told The Southern Reporter.

"In the run in you don’t want anyone having an advantage on you so now that we’re level on games we know exactly what needs to be done.

"The more games that they play and don’t pick up points the better.

"It’s up to us to capitalise on that and get points on the board.

"At one point on Saturday it looked like Gretna might get something from the game. It was quite tight up until the end when Rangers scored a few.”

Vale are scheduled to play Dalbeattie Star at home in the league this Saturday, but Sandison stressed that “constant” rain and snow in the Innerleithen area since last weekend meant that the game was looking very doubtful to go ahead.

"I can’t see the pitch getting a chance to dry out at all,” Sandison said. “It’s just getting worse and worse.

"We gave the boys time off last weekend. But if the Dalbeattie game is off then we’ll be looking to arrange a friendly.”

Despite Vale’s precarious position in the battle for survival, Sandison retains a belief that his troops can get out of trouble.

"No games in this league are easy,” he added. “But the run of games we have coming up are more favourable in terms of them being more competitive games rather than being against teams at the top end of the league.

"We’re playing all the teams in the bottom half of the league apart from Gretna so if we put in the right level of performance we believe we can pick up points.

"Whether that’s going to be enough to catch Gretna, that will be entirely dependent on how they do.

"But all we can do is do our best to pick up as many points as we can and see where it gets us.”

Vale have a fully fit squad for this Saturday, whether that be playing against Dalbeattie or in a replacement friendly.