'We've been written off again' - Vale of Leithen boss Michael Wilson hits back at online trolls who reckon his team will be relegated for second straight season

Vale of Leithen manager Michael Wilson has hit back at online trolls who reckon his troops will struggle in the East of Scotland Premier Division this season.

By Craig Goldthorp
Monday, 25th July 2022, 4:26 pm
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 4:27 pm
Vale goalscorer Kyle Mitchell shields the ball from Edinburgh South opponent (Pics by Bill McBurnie)
Vale goalscorer Kyle Mitchell shields the ball from Edinburgh South opponent (Pics by Bill McBurnie)

Some keyboard warriors have insisted that the Innerleithen side – who finished bottom of the Scottish Lowland Football League last season – will take the dreaded drop for a second consecutive campaign.

But gaffer Wilson, whose side open their 2022-23 league season at home to Broxburn Athletic this Saturday with kick-off at 2.30pm, told The Southern Reporter: “We’ve been written off again and I’ve seen a few things on social media with people saying that we’re favourites to go down again.

"For me that’s not the case so I’ll be using that as a bit of fuel to the fire so to speak.

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Thomas Penker played key part in second goal

"The boys have got a lot of wrongs to right as the club has been on a bit of a downward spiral for the last six or seven years.

"That’s why it was a clear the decks job in terms of recruitment to try and bring in that new mentality and I think the boys we’ve signed have all clicked straight away, they’re all getting on.

“Obviously we aim to win every single game we play and Saturday is no different.

"I know it’s going to be very difficult. Broxburn have some very experienced players as they have spent a bit of money this year so they’ll be no mugs.

"I’m glad we’re at home, I’m glad we have a squad sorted. I’m sitting with 18 players signed and maybe a couple more to come in this week.”

In terms of his overall aims this season, Wilson wants Vale to be competitive and get into a mentality where the players focus on winning more games than they lose.

"I think there has to be a positive change with the personnel we’ve brought in,” he added. “A lot of the boys we’ve recruited are used to winning games.

"We’ve shown in pre-season friendlies where we have gone behind and not given up, sat back and lost six, seven, eight, nine, 10 goals.

"There is now that fight and desire and we do well and we’ve won four or five out of the eight or nine pre-season friendlies we’ve played.”

Their final pre-season friendly on Saturday saw Vale win 3-1 at home to Edinburgh South with goals by Kyle Mitchell, an own goal and Dan Garvey.

With ex-Gala Fairydean Rovers midfielder Archie Roue running the show for Vale, they took an early lead when Mitchell lobbed the keeper.

It was 2-0 when an away defender put the ball into his own net after Thomas Penker’s initial header had come back off the bar after a fantastic Dylan Weldon cross.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, Vale made it 3-0 after the interval when Mitchell’s cross was controlled by Garvey who netted impressively from a tight angle.

And Vale were then further helped when Edinburgh South had a man sent off for dissent to the referee which incurred a second yellow card.

Despite having a man less, the visitors pulled a goal back late on with a header from a corner.