Gala Fairydean Rovers can do double against Rangers B if they're on top of their game, reckons striker Zander Murray
They ended up losing 5-4 at home at Netherdale in Galashiels, dashing any hopes of picking up points against Kilby for the first time since a 2-2 draw away in February 2020.
Coming up a goal short after victory had looked to be within their grasp might have been frustrating but there were plenty of positives to be taken from the Borderers’ battling display against a side six places and eight points better off than them in the Scottish Lowland Football League, though, according to striker Zander Murray.
“It just shows how far we have come as a group to be competing with one of the league’s big spenders and to be 3-1 up on 50 minutes,” said the 31-year-old.
“We are so close now to be pushing for the title.
“We’ll regroup after Saturday’s game and take massive positives from it.”
The centre-forward put the hosts in front with 34 minutes played and Ciaren Chalmers doubled their advantage seven minutes later with a long-range strike lauded by Murray as a wonder-goal and one of the best goals he’s ever seen.
Neil McLaughlin got the visitors on the scoresheet two minutes into first-half stoppage time but Gareth Rodger restored Gala’s two-goal advantage five minutes after the interval with a header from a Danny Galbraith free-kick.
That was as good as it got for player-manager Martin Scott’s side, however, as East Kilbride then proceeded to show why they’re third in the table, behind only league leaders Rangers B and second-placed Celtic B, netting on 52, 55 and 62 minutes respectively via Ronan Hughes, Cameron Elliott and Jamie Docherty respectively.
McLaughlin netted another on 74 minutes to put his side 5-3 in front but a Dylan MacDonald own goal in injury time reduced the deficit for Rovers, leaving them just one score short of parity and a point.
A trip to Dumbarton’s Moreroom.com Stadium to take on Rangers’ colts, currently five points clear at the top of the table, on 44 points from 18 games, is next up for Rovers following a weekend off and they’ll be hoping to do the double against the Glaswegians after beating them 2-1 at Netherdale at the end of October.
That’ll be a big ask but Murray reckons Rovers are up to it if they take their A game to West Dunbartonshire.
“It’ll be a tough game but if we turn up for 90 minutes, we can beat anyone in this league, as we have shown,” he said.
That game is on Friday, December 16, with a 7.45pm kick-off.
It’s followed by two matches over the festive season to wrap up Rovers’ itinerary for 2022, at home to Edinburgh’s Spartans on Friday, December 23, at 7.45pm and away to Berwick Rangers on Hogmanay at 1pm.
Gala go into that final flurry of fixtures for the year sitting ninth in the table, with 30 points from 20 games.