THE lighter spring evenings do not come alone for those in Junior football.
Virtually every week from now until the end of the season, each team will have a game every Saturday and Wednesday night, as the Scottish Junior Football Association attempt to work through the fixture casualties of the Arctic-like winter we’ve just emerged from.
As the season builds to its hectic conclusion, Cumbernauld United and Kilsyth Rangers are facing very different realities.
United, now on their third manager of the season with the appointment of Ian Currie (51), are embroiled in a relegation battle which is set to involve at least half of the Super League First Division.
Saturday’s two-all draw away at leaders Clydebank, however, is proof that the team are very much able to live at this level.
New boss Currie said: “That’s why they call it the worst league in the world - two teams get promoted and four get relegated, so only eight teams stay in the division between seasons.
“It’s a new adventure for me, but my main aim is to stay up. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could achieve that.
“On Saturday, I thought we played the most football and created more chances. I changed the formation because I know how Clydebank play.
“I was slightly disappointed because I felt our play deserved the three points.”
Meanwhile Rangers are in the perfect position to push on and take the Central District First Division crown.
With St Anthony’s suddenly hitting a bad patch of form, Kilsyth top the table on 37 points, level with Thorniewood United, but with two games in hand. The Ants have fallen back to third on 31 points, having played a game less than Kilsyth.
But the Duncansfield side will have to keep their eye on the ball, as Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Vale of Leven proved.
Assistant boss Martin Mooney said: “I’ve been telling the boys that this is what we can expect now. Everybody’s going to be looking to take something off of us as the league leaders.
“Going two-nil down was a bad start, but they kept it together and pulled it back. If the game had gone on for another five minutes we would’ve won it.”
Cumbernauld United host Vale of Clyde tonight before travelling to New Cumnock to face Glenafton Athletic on Saturday.
Currie added: “The standard’s quite good in the squad, but there’s always room for improvement. We’ll go into these games full of confidence.
“I’m always more focussed on what my team is capable of than what the other team can do.”
Rangers are on the road again, away to Glasgow Perthshire tonight and Johnstone Burgh on Saturday, meaning four of their last five have been away from Duncansfield.
Mooney added: “Perthshire’s park is tight, so that might become a battle. We beat Johnstone Burgh earlier in the season, but there’s no easy games now.
“I would like to have a full fixture list in front of me now, I don’t undersdtand why they can’t do that. We only know a few games at a time.
“They seem to be holding the St Anthony’s game back, I’m not sure if they’re wanting that to be a decider towards the end of the season or something.”