Zander Murray penalty earns victory for Gala Fairydean Rovers against Civil Service Strollers
Striker Murray’s spot-kick saw the Galashiels side pull off a winning double against the capital side, having beaten them 3-1 away in the reverse fixture at the end of July.
That victory at Netherdale, their ninth of the season to date, lifted Rovers up to eighth place, on 30 points from 19 games, in the Scottish Lowland Football League ahead of a visit from third-placed East Kilbride this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
This weekend’s game offers a chance of back-to-back wins for the Borderers and also an opportunity to make amends for the 4-0 thumping they had handed out to them in the reverse fixture in South Lanarkshire in mid-August.
Rovers’ other goal on Saturday against Strollers – one of four teams level on 35 points, East Kilbride being among the others – was scored by left-back Quinn Mitchell on 51 minutes, putting them in front, but it was cancelled out by Matthew Shaw for their Edinburgh opposition six minutes later.
Gala player-manager Martin Scott credited a second-half change of tactics for his side’s victory against opponents three places higher up the table than them.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the three points but especially with our performance,” said the 36-year-old afterwards. “In the second half especially, we went through the gears.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Civil. They’re a very well-organised, well-oiled machine.
“They’re one of the best teams in the league and their league position tells its own story.
“Today’s first half was a tight affair. I think they’d probably feel unlucky not to have gone in one up, but we kept trying to do what we believe in, in terms of how we play and our philosophy, and in the second half, that showed and we made some positive chances and they really impacted on the game when they came on.
“Our starting 11 gave us that platform and gave us a bit of steel, if you like.
“If you look at our starting 11 today, they were very steely, all guys that are very strong in the tackle and can handle that physical aspect of the game.
“In the second half, after they’d given us that foundation to go and play, we made some tactical changes and brought on guys who are technically really good, with pace and directness in wide areas, and it really affected the game, which was pleasing to see, and it allowed our central midfielders to get on the ball and dictate play from there.
“On another day, that tactical change maybe wouldn’t have worked, but that’s part of football.
“Today, credit goes to every single player. They all played their part.”
Rovers have got a two-week break coming up after East Kilbride’s visit this weekend and are next in action after that away to table-topping Rangers B in the league on Friday, December 16, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
That’s followed by a visit from Edinburgh’s Spartans a week later, December 23, at the same time and a trip to Berwick Rangers on Hogmanay, with kick-off at 1pm, to wrap up their schedule for 2022.