Two teams opt to quit South

Monday night will see a crunch meeting of the South of Scotland Football League.

Two of the league’s top sides – Dalbeattie Star and Threave Rovers – are expected to confirm then that they are quitting the South to join the new Lowland League.

Also “leaving” the South league will be East Kilbride, the club that campaigned hard over the past year to join the South set-up but will now 
depart without having played a single match.

Star and Rovers are expected to join 10 other teams in establishing the Lowland League, from which they hope to progress into the senior Scottish Football League in the fullness of time.

There will be no promotion or relegation from the Lowand League at the end of the 2013/14 season, but it is anticipated that the champions in 2014/15 will take part in a play-off with the Highland League champions for a place in the third division of the Scottish Football League.

The other sides forming the new division are East Kilbride, Spartans, Preston Athletic, Gretna 2008, Whitehill Welfare, Selkirk, Gala Fairydean, Edinburgh City, Stirling University and Vale of Leithen.

However, it is expected that Lochar Thistle will join the South league to take the number of teams to 11. In addition, it is expected that Dalbeattie and Threave will still honour their South cup commitments, with the exception of the League Cup.

John McNaught, the Gazette’s football correspondent, said the departure of the two sides – if confirmed on Monday night – could provide an opportunity for other teams to apply to join the South.

John said: “If they confirm they are joining the Lowland League, a lot of the South teams hope Dalbeattie Star and Threave Rovers will do well as it will reflect positively on the South’s football.

“It will also provide an opportunity for other amateur sides to apply to join the South league if they can fulfil the criteria needed.

“It could also go well for Wigtownshire sides, who will have a much better chance of winning the South league next season.”

Elsewhere in South football, Newton Stewart have confirmed this week that they have strengthened their playing pool with the addition of three new players.

Signing for the Creesiders are Dean Thomson and Ryan McKie, both of whom have played for Saint Cuthbert Wanderers, and Robert Middleton, a former Creetown player who has been on loan with Threave Rovers.