Threave Rovers urge town to get behind club for Kelty Hearts play-off

Threave Rovers clinched the South of Scotland Championship last weekend
Threave Rovers clinched the South of Scotland Championship last weekend

Threave Rovers player-boss Scott Wilby issued a rallying cry to the fans to get behind them for their massive Lowland League play-off clash against Kelty Hearts.

There were scenes of jubilation after the final whistle last weekend as Rovers celebrated clinching the South of Scotland league title for the first time in seven years.

Wilby (32), who has been at the club for 11 years, told the Gazette: “I’m thrilled for the club, I’ve been there a long time through the good times and the bad.

“This season there has been an upturn in fortunes and I’m pleased for everybody connected with the club. It was more relief than anything to win it.

“I’m still a player, as a player you can be a bit selfish and just turn up for games but as a manager there is a lot more to think about.

"However, it’s not about me, it’s about the players, they go on the park and put the performances in.”

The club’s chairman Davy McVitie, who has been at Threave for 41 years and spent six of them as a manager between 2005 and 2011, said: “It’s a tremendous feeling for the boys, especially the young ones who have not experienced it before.

“It’s a long, hard season. We have played 59 games and that is only second to Celtic in Scottish football, it is a great feeling.”

Their success has unlocked the chance of Lowland League football next season.

The Castle Douglas club played in that league for three years but found the going difficult.

First though they face East of Scotland champions Kelty Hearts at Meadow Park this Saturday (kick off 3pm) for the first leg of their play-off decider.

Kelty are favourites but Threave have already beaten the Fifers this season when they won on penalties in the South Region Challenge Cup.

Wilby admitted it is one of the club’s finest results at the time, he said: “This will help to raise the profile of South of Scotland league football, we are fully aware that if Kelty play to their full potential and we play to our full potential then Kelty will probably win.

“But we’re happy to be underdogs and we fully respect Kelty. We beat them in a cup earlier this season but they have everything in place to go places.

“It will be a hard game. If the boys give 90 minutes of hard work I’ll be proud of them. Irrespective of what the result might be, our season won’t be defined by it.

“These are the type of games you want to be involved in as a player to pit yourself against the best.”

The club have done great work on and off the park. There’s a social club and they coach 200 kids from two to 17 years old.

They are hoping to harness that community spirit on Saturday.

McVitie said: “There will be a massive crowd down here, we’re looking forward to it hopefully we can keep it tight and get a wee result. We’re expecting about 500 to 600 there and hopefully the community will get behind us and the kids will come along.

Wilby added: “There is one football club in Castle Douglas hopefully everyone will get behind us.”