Selkirk savouring Christmas gift of a shot at Scotland’s best

Stnad-off Gavin Craig scores a try for Selkirk in their recent BT Cup match with Premiership side Hawick. How will the Souters fare against Melrose? (picture by Grant Kinghorn)
Stnad-off Gavin Craig scores a try for Selkirk in their recent BT Cup match with Premiership side Hawick. How will the Souters fare against Melrose? (picture by Grant Kinghorn)

Selkirk manager Tom Ramage is hoping for the “Christmas bonus” of a good result in tomorrow’s (Saturday) hugely attractive Booker Border League game at Melrose.

The departure from regular league business for the ‘anything’s possible’ implications of the Border League, the pairing of teams from different divisions, and the unique characteristics of a southern derby suggest a cracking game is in prospect.

It also allows the Souters, going strongly in BT National League Division One, a crack at the best side in Scotland at present, unbeaten at the top of the BT Premiership with 12 bonus-point wins in a row.

Selkirk took a full week to prepare for the big game – figuring it was worth it – after last Saturday’s trip to Aberdeen Grammar was called off, with regular training sessions during the week and some extra time, hopefully, for injuries to mend.

Come 2pm, the Souters would also be fielding as strong a side as possible at the Greenyards, said Ramage.

“Melrose are flying high – undefeated and the best in Scotland at the moment,” he said. “It will be a big ask for the boys but it’s Border League – anything can happen. We will put our strongest team out and, hopefully, we can match them in some areas.

“I played in a few Borders derbies myself – it’s like cup finals all the time. This is kind of our cup final – we will be the underdogs.”

Although acknowledging Melrose were formidable rivals, Ramage added: “Teams have scored against them – they are not 100 per cent bullet-proof at the back door. I would say we could have a chance to put some points behind them.”

Selkirk had used its lighter pack around the field to great effect, said Ramage, but Melrose were quite mobile themselves, especially with 15 players on the park. Anticipating a good, open game, he said: “Melrose have bigger, stronger forwards and they like to roll the maul up the field. We like a quick ruck and a ball away into open spaces , so hopefully that will work to our advantage.”