Leith derby for Hibs on East of Scotland return

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Hibernian will today compete in the East of Scotland League set-up for the first time in almost 30 years when they face neighbours Leith Athletic.

The Easter Road side successfully applied to enter a ‘B’ side in the league this summer and will compete in the ten-team First Division, playing against the likes of Eyemouth United, Hawick Royal Albert and Peebles Rovers, as well as Berwick Rangers’ reserves, who joined in 2010.

Hibs begin their league campaign on Thursday at home to Kelso United but kick-off this afternoon with their first outing in the East of Scotland Qualifying League – a forerunner to the League Cup – against Leith at Meadowbank Stadium.

With the first-team preparing to face Hearts in the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle tomorrow, it will be an under-20s squad that takes on the local rivals from their Leith heartland this afternoon, but fringe top-team players could be used in future to give them game time or help with rehabilitation from injury.

Although they have always been a member of the East of Scotland Football Association, along with Hearts, Livingston and Berwick Rangers, Hibs last fielded a B team in the league in the aftermath of the Second World War, winning the title in 1948, ‘49, ‘51, ‘52 and in their last season in the competition, 1953.

They also fielded a colts team in the leagues from 1971 before withdrawing again four years later.