Season gets off to a frustrating start

Two games into the new season, Heriot-Watt is still looking for its first point – but in a sense, that’s what the Qualifying League is for…

In the first game, away to Dalkeith Thistle on Saturday, the Watt kept an excellent shape throughout the game and had the better of the chances, but lost out to a freak own goal off the head of Aidan Quinn.  Callum Reid, in the Watt goal, didn’t have a shot to save during the game – which was just as well, as he played despite a hip injury.  Last evening (Tuesday 31st), at home against Haddington Athletic, the Watt got off to a horrendous start, conceding two preventable goals in the first two minutes of the match, but battled back to be within sight of a point at 2 – 3 during the last ten minutes of the game, before a hotly-disputed fourth for Haddington put the game beyond reach.  The third and final Qualifying League game comes on Saturday when Coldstream visits Riccarton for a match with the unusual kick-off time for Watt games of 2.30.

Both our games so far have been against former Junior sides and – results apart – we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Both at Dalkeith on Saturday and from our visitors, Haddington, last evening, we encountered courtesy and friendliness of a high order.  If these clubs are typical of the new members of the East of Scotland League and Association, the expansion of the League has brought nothing but benefit.

We’ve August to get through before we see the players from further-flung domiciles return to Riccarton, so it must be admitted that the squad is a bit on the thin side at the moment:  we’ve no Jack Spence, Niko Giovanovits, Adam Breen, Ion Athanassios Diamantopoulos, Aubin Balastrier or Jens Willassen as yet.  We’ve also lost a number of players since last season, including our three main strikers – Anton Dowds is off to a bright start with East Fife, Cammie Ross has moved to Leith Athletic and Mark McGovern has also left Riccarton, perhaps to join his father, Paul McGovern, who was Assistant Manager at Riccarton last season and has now taken over the manager’s office at Hawick Royal Albert.  Finn WattScott Dargo and Alex Snoddy have departed the Club for personal reasons.  Jackson Barker‘s desperately unlucky injury in the last game of the Under-20 season has put him on the long-term injured list alongside Liam Hutchison and Chris Donnelly.  Injuries and illness have deprived us of the services of Adam Woolven and Callum Reid for one or both of the games played so far.

All those who have moved to other clubs we thank for their service to the Watt and wish them well for the future.  To those with injuries or illness we wish full and speedy recovery.

The beneficial aspect of the player issues mentioned above is that chances to gain some game time have come for several players who have been used in the First Team less often previously.  Harry Barclay, Justin Hogg, Michael Ward and Calvin Muttitt have played in both games so far; Cameron Atwell and Frewen Hutcheson featured in the first game at Dalkeith; Chris Macher, Alex McMahon and Adam Beirne in the second game against Haddington.  Four of those players were part of the Watt’s champion Under-20 side of last season and Adam is another player to make his debut for the First Team before even beginning his course of study at the Watt.  This suggests that when we have a fuller complement of players to call upon, the squad should have some depth to it.