Lowland League on the rise according to Cumbernauld Colts boss

Cumbernauld Colts co-manager Craig McKinlay would like to see the Lowland League get a higher profile to attract more crowds (pic by Alex Miller)
Cumbernauld Colts co-manager Craig McKinlay would like to see the Lowland League get a higher profile to attract more crowds (pic by Alex Miller)

With senior league football taking a break this weekend there will be an increased spotlight on the Lowland League this weekend.

And those involved, such as Cumbernauld Colts, are hoping to take full advantage of any extra attention.

Cumbernauld Colts take on East Stirlingshire at Broadwood on Saturday

Cumbernauld Colts take on East Stirlingshire at Broadwood on Saturday

In England Saturday in Non-League Day is an initiative set up in 2010 as a way to promote semi-professional and amateur football during an international break.

But this weekend it is also being backed by the Lowland League as a way of trying to highlight what it has to offer fans.

NLD founder James Doe said: “Over the last seven years we have built an event which has become an annual part of the football calendar and have attracted the support not only of the clubs and fans involved but also the FA and Premier League.

“We have seen many clubs double their average attendance and in some cases even pull in capacity crowds so the rewards can be substantial.

“With there being a similar league/non-league structure in Scotland, it’s always been an aim of ours to get Scottish clubs fully involved so it was very exciting to be contacted by the Lowland League ahead of this year’s event.”

Cumbernauld Colts are now in their third season as a Lowland League club and co-manager Craig McKinlay believes the standard is increasing all the time.

This Saturday Colts take on East Stirlingshire who, two seasons ago, became the first side to suffer relegation following integration of the Lowland League into Scottish football’s revamped pyramid structure.

And McKinlay believes the fact that Shire have been unable to dominate since dropping down from League 2 is a good indication of how the gap between the two grades is closing.

He said: “There are more senior players and experienced junior players coming in.

“There’s a recognition that the standard is of a higher level and it’s attracting better players. East Kilbride ran away with it last year but this year it is much more competitive.

“What’s slightly disappointing is that I don’t think it gets as much coverage as we would like.

“But to me there’s very little difference between the teams in the top half of the Lowland League and the bottom half of League 2.”

Lowland League media manager Michael Park said: “The Lowland League represents quality football at an affordable price and is an opportunity for both casual fans and certified football hipsters to check out some of the best young talent in Scottish football and some faces from SPFL seasons past that you just might recognise.

“We’re really excited to be supporting Non-League Day, recognising both the fantastic clubs in our league and the hard work of the volunteers that run them.”