Penicuik Athletic boss Johnny Harvey played down his side’s title challenge after they moved top of the East Superleague following a battling 1-0 win over Forfar West End.
Adam Forbes’ curling 25-yard effort gave Cuikie the three points over the basement boys in testing conditions at Strathmore Park to push them two points clear of Bonnyrigg Rose, heading into the business end of the competition.
However, with challengers Bonnyrigg having three games in hand and fourth-placed Linlithgow Rose with four, Harvey doesn’t believe Cuikie will be amongst the teams battling for the title at the end of the season.
He told the Advertiser: “To be honest I don’t see us being in the shake up come the end of the season. Teams like Linlithgow and Bonnyrigg have three or four games in hand. I think we have given ourselves too much to do. If we had turned a few of those draws and defeats into wins then we might have had a chance.
“I totally understand that teams can slip up with so many games to play in a short space of time. I’m not being defeatist just realistic.
“The expectations of this club at the start of the season were to be within touching distance. I think we have done really well to be mentioned in the same breath as Bonnyrigg who were expected to be title favourites. Clubs like theirs and Linlithgow resources far outweigh ours.”
Harvey hailed the team’s battling qualities to grind out the result against West End.
He said: “It was difficult, the conditions with the weather and the pitch were not great but the boys dug in and got the three points which is what it is about at this stage of the season, it’s not always going to be about silky football.
“Forbesy’s goal though was that piece of magic we needed and that is not the first time he has given us that. He’s a top player, he’s a Scotland Junior player and we are very lucky to have him.”
Next up for Cuikie is Broughty Athletic who have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence under new player-boss Jamie McCunnie.
Harvey said: “It will be a very difficult match. They are a big, physical side and a hard team to play against. McCunnie will have them well organised.
“Being top of the league brings its own pressure but I am enjoying it and the players are enjoying it and we are looking forward to the game.”
The club have organised a Q&A event for supporters to come along and quiz the manager, club captain Craig Hume and vice-captain Lewis Barr. The event is being held on Tuesday at the Shottsdown Miners Club in Penicuik and kicks off at 7pm.
He said: “I want the supporters to come along if they have any questions that they want to ask me about myself or the players.
“I just want the players and the community to mix a bit more. I want to invite the fans along and make them feel more part of the club.”