Selkirk back on track for return to glory days

SELKIRK once had a notable track record for trophies - and now the Borders outfit are back on course to end a 27-year drought for silverware.

Assistant manager Ally McCulloch believes the Yarrow Park outfit are on the brink of securing the First Division title and promotion.

"We think it is a great position to be in and we are totally elated," beamed McCulloch.

Selkirk enjoyed the greatest spell in their 125-year history during the mid-1970s when they were virtually unbeatable under the managership of Ian Whitehead.

The Souters won the East of Scotland League on three successive seasons, from 1974-1977, a feat only achieved by Whitehill Welfare, Gala Fairydean and Hibs B when they competed in the League in the early 1950s.

Selkirk also won the Scottish Qualifying Cup (South) on three occasions as well as the King Cup (twice) and the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup (twice).

That was a total of ten trophies in four seasons, a quite remarkable achievement for a town more noted for its rugby successes.

Since 1978, however, the trophy cabinet has lain dormant although there is a strong belief that this drought could come to an end this season.

Selkirk currently lead the First Division and the title, along with promotion, are focused firmly in the eyes of assistant manager McCulloch who, as a player, was used to considerable success when he was with Whitehill Welfare.

"When Fraser Lothian and I took over the managerial roles 18 months ago we had a three-year plan to get Selkirk into the Premier Division.

"Our discussions with the committee were all based on that strategy and, to be fair to the committee, that was exactly what they were striving for.

"We genuinely felt that Selkirk had a significant advantage because they already had players who were capable of achieving that aim.

"In our first year we had a long, hard look at what was there and decided that we were not desperate to sign new players. Those who were at Selkirk were well motivated, they turned up for training, they trained well and they listened.

"Fraser and I thought that we really had the opportunity to work with some very good players. In that first year we had a few good results and also some bad ones. We drew games we should have won and lost games we should have drawn.

"This season we said to the players that in the equivalent fixture we wanted to go one step better than last season. We wanted them to make an extra-special effort. The proof of that philosophy is that we are deservedly sitting at the top of the table because the players have worked on their consistency.

"There is definitely a huge promise of success in this squad. The players have set their own standards with Fraser and myself giving them direction and coaching.

"We have been particularly pleased that we have educated the back four because previously they had not had much coaching."

Selkirk can include in their defensive line up Aarron Biggs who has put in some immense performances this season. Craig Tyson was a product of the Borders Soccer Academy and he has settled in well at left-back while Ross Moffat and Stuart Anderson have been solid and impressive.

"All of them have moved their games forward," said McCulloch.

"Craig Livingstone is a striker who gives inspiration to other players around him because he has good skills and sees situations developing very early.

"He has a good eye for goal. We also have Euan Pritchard in midfield and he battles every side we play against.

"Three of our players have come through the Borders Soccer Academy and they have championed the way along with our more mature players. All of them are now thinking ‘we can now win this league.’

"Quite honestly, we do have a chance of promotion but it is the players who must make that decision. It is coming down to the fact that we must fight for every ball.

"We cannot afford to drop any more points and we must get back to the form we showed in mid-season and be totally focused.

"The effort that everyone at the club has put in, especially our forward-thinking committee, deserves to see Selkirk in the Premier Division and regularly challenging for the trophies."