Having trawled the records to check the implication in the last posting that since the introduction of the Qualifying League as a tournament with which the season is opened, Heriot-Watt University has yet to reach the qualification level and go on to play in the League Cup later in the season, we find that isn’t actually true! The Qualifying League was introduced in season 2011 – 2012 and in that first season of the competition, a 1 – 1 draw at Saughton with Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale secured for the Watt second place in Section D. Ironically, Watt then lost 1 – 0 to the same team at the same venue in the Quarter-finals.
Since that season, Watt has failed to progress from the group competition to the League Cup proper, but with one match left in its qualifying group, it is now in the position to achieve this objective. In Section B, however, there have been several surprise results and this unpredictability has set up an exciting conclusion, with many possible outcomes.
On Saturday, Watt scored its second win in three games played in the competition, beating Stirling University II with a late goal by Cammy Ross (report on the ‘East of Scotland League’ tab). Watt has played much better this season and may have been considered a little fortunate to have escaped with one point, never mind all three, but a combination of good defending, defective finishing and the natural flair of the scorer kept the points at Riccarton.
The Watt players now go to Berwick next Saturday to take on new East of Scotland members Tweedmouth Rangers in their final group game, with the group so finely poised that it would still be possible for the Watt to finish top or bottom of the group table! Tweedmouth’s shock victory over Tynecastle at Saughton Enclosure yesterday has thrown the section wide open and at present none of the five teams can be sure of qualification or of elimination. Tynecastle has finished its programme with two wins and two defeats and the Watt also has six points, but with an inferior goal difference. Stirling has just one game left to play (against Leith) and needs to win it to reach six points.
A draw on Saturday would take Watt on to seven points, which would guarantee qualification, but a win would make it nine points, which only Leith Athletic could equal. It is very unfortunate that the opening-day match between Tweedmouth and Leith could not be played on the date originally set and that the match has not been reset since, as now the sides will go into that game with all other group matches completed and therefore knowing what they need to do to qualify or to win the group, but it looks too late to do anything about that now.
Anyway, the Watt’s future in the competition is in its own hands when the squad heads south next Saturday. It will be going for the win as usual and an exciting match is in prospect.