BARC Travel to Sponsor All Club Strips

Vale of Leithen are delighted to continue our partnership with local business BARC Travel, with the company becoming away strip sponsor from next season. With BARC Travel already sponsoring our home kit, this means the BARC Travel logo will be on all of the Lowland league side’s playing kit for next season.

The new kit, from manufactures Adidas, will be launched next month. The home kit, in traditional blue, will also continue for next season.

Stuart Robertson, Chairman, said: “BARC Travel have been an important and loyal partner for a number of years, and I am delighted that they will become our away strip sponsor in addition our home kit. The club relies on our supporters and sponsors, and I am grateful for their support.”

Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ Teams Admitted to Lowland League

Following a General Meeting of the Lowland League last night (Monday 11 May 2021), the league has voted to admit Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ teams into the league for one season only.

Under the proposals, the league will temporarily be increased from 16 to 18 for one season only. During that season, Rangers and Celtic will enter ‘B’ teams in the league, consisting of professional players at aged 20 and under. This will be for one year only and the ‘B’ teams will not be involved in promotion or relegation.

The club can confirm they voted in favour of the proposal.

Treasurer John Anderson said: “This is a exciting and innovative project which the club is delighted to be part of. From the club’s point of view, this provides commercial and financial benefit. For supporters, we will have two very special home games next season when Rangers and Celtic will be bringing Scotland’s most promising young talent to Victoria Park. We hope local supporters of both Ranges and Celtic, and beyond, take advantage of the opportunity to come to Victoria Park to witness.

Structural reform of Scottish football has been talked about for years, and it was great to be able to support this small development, just as we did when we joined the Lowland League at its formation in 2013.

There is no change to the pyramid system. There is no chance to promotion and relegation to and from the Tier 6 leagues. This is a one season project. Some have said “why not promote two clubs from the East and West leagues”. That was not on table. The number of teams in the league is restricted by the SFA, who have given permission to a temporary increase of two teams for one season only for this project. Increasing the league number was not otherwise on the table. I think that has not been properly understood by those who have criticised the project.”

The Lowland league campaign begins on Saturday 17 July 2021. Fixtures are expected be issued by the league in late June.

League ends; relegation uncertain; Vale left in limbo

At the beginning of the season, the clubs and league agreed a process for ending the season if it could not be completed. If 50% of games were completed, it would end on a Points Per Game basis. If less than 50% of games were completed, it would be null and void. This policy was reaffirmed in January 2021.

Having been told by the Scottish Government that completing the season without weekly PCR testing would not be permitted, the season is over. No team in the league has completed 50% of games, and in the Vale’s case, we are 4 games short of the 50% mark. A policy for this situation was agreed at the start of the season, and reaffirmed in January 2021. Under the agreed rules, the season should have been null and void.

The league Board have now decided, after seeking non binding comments from clubs, to abandon the agreed rules and declare the season on a Points Per Game basis.

The position on relegation is now unclear and based on a number of factors with unknown outcomes: how many teams will be in the league next season? Will it go back to 16, stay at 17, or another number? Will other pyramid clubs declare a champion? Will a club be promoted from the Lowland League? If a club is relegated from SPFL league 2, which league will they go into? All these questions remain unanswered, and the club is now left in no limbo.

Having spent the last year promoting sporting integrity and playing by the rules, it is disappointing to see the Lowland League breaking their agreed process.

Manager Chris Anderson said: “The past year has been a stressful one for everyone with normality coming to a halt in all our lives. The one constant has been the Scottish football infighting and baffling decisions. One minute we were allowed to play, the next we weren’t.

Let’s be clear. I want to stress that we have not preformed as well as we would have liked this year. No excuses. We have been far from the level required after 12 games but with 20 games remaining and still not played everyone around us who knows what would have happened.

That aside – all we’ve listened to over the past year was the SPFL closing the door to pyramids and sporting integrity going down the pan. Well it’s well and truly flushed now.

For this exact scenario we implemented a rule of reaching 50% games for the season to be called. Rules are there to safeguard competition. That trust is now broken.

In a day or two people will forget and move on. Whatever our fate, we will regroup and look forward to rebuilding for next season, whatever league we are in.”

Scottish FA Suspend Football

The Scottish FA have today (11 January 2021) suspended football below SPFL Championship level for three weeks until 31 January 2021. This includes matches and training. Football is due to restart on 1 February 2021 but this is subject to review.

Whilst naturally everyone is frustrated, we understand the rationale behind this given the current circumstances. We hope the season will restart in February 2021 and we look forward to that.

Vale 4 BSC 6: Match Report by David Knox

Vale of Leithen 4

BSC Glasgow 6

VALE continue the search for their first win of the campaign after giving up a two goal lead against BSC Glasgow.

But boss Chris Anderson still gave his players the thumbs up for effort after running last season’s Scottish Cup giant-killers close at Victoria Park.

Vale had raced into a deserved two goal advantage inside 20 minutes before being pegged back before the break.

Leaking a further three goals inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half didn’t snuff out a renewed belief around the Innerleithen side this season, and it was only the woodwork that prevented the home team drawing level in the final minute of the game.

Anderson said: “We were playing a good team who are looking to challenge yet we were positive out there and the performance was good.

“It’s disappointing to lose six goals and we’ll work on things, but I’m happy with the energy we showed even after conceding.

“We’ve played well in patches in all our games so far this season, but we need to turn those patches of playing well into points.”

It took a fine double save from Ben McGinley during the opening exchanges to prevent Stephen Swift’s team taking an early lead.

But Vale also came close with Martin Brogan narrowly failing to steer Michael Robertson’s angled cross inside the post.

Vale, though, did make the breakthrough from the penalty spot in the 18th minute after Nicholas Weir was fouled inside the area.

Jonathan Grotlin dispatched the spot kick.

Within 90 seconds the home team had doubled their advantage with Lewis Hall converting the rebound from 20 yards after Lyle Avci had blocked Arran Laidlaw’s initial effort.

BSC responded well with Ryan Tierney slipping past Martin Brogan to beat McGinley at his near post on 33 minutes.

And just seconds before the interval a mix up between McGinley and his defence allowed Alfie Agyneman to slot home the equaliser.

Ross Lyon clipped the post for the visitors four minutes into the second half.

But the former Rangers and Scotland youth player only had to wait a further minute before firing BSC in front from the penalty spot.

Lyon added a fourth from close range in the 55th minute.

And he completed his hat-trick on the hour after responding first to Agyneman’s shot that struck the post.

Vale should have been a beaten team, but within three minutes they were back in the match.

Laidlaw held off a challenge inside the area to slot the ball beyond Avci.

And in the 70th minute Laidlaw ran onto Levi Kinchant’s through-ball to make it 4-5.

Vale pushed for an equaliser with Nicholas Weir volleying a couple of feet wide, and in the 89th minute Kinchant curled a 25-yard freekick against the bar.

But in the third minute of stoppage time, with home players pushed forward, Darren Christie raced away on the counter-attack to seal the victory for BSC.

BSC’s hat-trick hero Lyon said: “Vale made it a really tough match and I was just pleased to be in the right places at the right times for my goals.

“We have a lot of new boys coming in this season and we will need to be better than we were today, particularly at the back.

“We’re unbeaten after our first three matches, but we’ve still got a bit of improving to do.”

Vale of Leithen. B McGinley, M Robertson, J Temple (R Higgins 58), N Weir, M Brogan, G Rossi, R Neave (R Wylie 85), L Hall, J Grotlin, D Ndiweni (L Kinchant 56) & A Laidlaw.