Grant Sandison interview: Major blow to Vale of Leithen's survival hopes as Gretna win to go six points clear
Vale of Leithen boss Grant Sandison’s hopes of keeping the club in the Lowland League suffered a major blow on Monday, when drop rivals Gretna 2008 recorded a 2-1 home win over Dalbeattie Star to go six points clear of the bottom club.
Sandison told the Southern Reporter: “It was obviously disappointing but we set ourselves a points target when we came in. We think that if we can get to that we will stay in the league and that doesn’t change.
"We anticipated that Gretna would pick up points between now and the end of the season.
"Hopefully not too many. But I kind of thought that when the Dalbeattie game was situated, you never know what teams clubs are putting out with Covid.
"So I didn’t think Gretna would win but I thought they would maybe sneak a point.”
Vale’s scheduled derby at Gala Fairydean last Saturday was postponed due to Covid isolation in the Gala camp.
“We were looking forward to it,” Sandison said. “Obviously a derby game you want to play. It would have been a good occasion.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t think part-time football teams like ourselves should be playing on New Year’s Day.
"Trying to keep everyone in on Hogmanay was a big ask.
"I was a wee bit gutted the game was off but I don’t think the boys were gutted because they got their lives back on Hogmanay.
"It’s the way it is with this Covid situation. Everybody seems to be catching it again.
"We’ll just need to see what happens going forward.”
And Vale – who have four points from 24 games – face the likelihood of being fixtureless again this Saturday as Sandison revealed that the scheduled home game against Berwick Rangers appears very likely to be postponed.
He said: “We have four positive Covid cases in our camp and three waiting on test results so that could quickly become seven.
"Then we wouldn’t be able to put a team out as we’d have less than 11 players. Berwick also still have a lot of guys isolating.
"Regardless of Covid, with the freezing weather the pitch could be unplayable as well.
"I hope it goes ahead but I can’t see it happening.”