Eyemouth bid to topple big-spending Whitehill in season opener

EYEMOUTH Unitetd open the new East of Scotland season away to big spending Whitehill Welfare in the inaugural Qualifying League competition this weekend.

Whitehill manager Rab Paget has splashed the cash on a host of new signings in a bid to close the gap on Spartans in the Premier Division this season and they have had some impressive results in pre-season, including a home win over a Dundee United XI. The Rosewell team will certainly go into the game as favourites, but Eyemouth, who are hoping to secure the services of Whitehill’s No 2 goalkeeper on loan for the season, go into the game believing they are capable of causing an upset.

Edinburgh City, Edinburgh University, Gala Fairydean and Preston Athletic, who will travel to Eyemouth on Tuesday night, make up the remainder of Section C, which looks like the competition’s group of death. The teams face each other once, with the top two in each section progressing to the League Cup quarter-final.

Coldstream are without midfielders Chris Taylor (injured) and Lee Smith (suspended) and defender Michael Brown (unavailable) for Saturday’s opener away to Peebles Rovers, which will kick-off early at 12.30pm.

Other than that Lawrie Dunne has a full squad to choose from in what will be his first competitive game in charge. Midfielder Craig Heugh is also available after becoming the latest former Berwick United Ultras player to join Streamers.

“We can’t wait for the season to begin,” said Dunne, whose team host Civil Service Strollers in the same competition on Tuesday. “We know the game will be keenly contested and that is exactly what we want. Peebles are a decent side, so it should be a good game.”

Peebles manager Stuart Robertson, formerly in charge of Coldstream, had to cancel two friendlies following a revolt that involved his assistant manager and several players. He is on holiday in Florida this weekend, with Nicky Cairns in charge.

Duns miss out on the Qualifying League, but they begin their pre-season fixtures at home to Hibs U-19s on Friday, kick-off 6.45pm at the new Berwickshire High School.

The players to look out for in the Hibs team, coached by James McDonaugh, are strikers Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling.

Caldwell was on the bench for the first team at Inverness on Saturday and Handling is a Scotland Under-18 international who has also played in the SPL.