Title race under way, say Athletic boss Irvine after going top

Bo’ness Athletic manager Willie Irvine proclaimed the title race is now on after watching his side beat seventh-placed Stoneyburn 7-1 at home to go top of East of Scotland Football League first division conference X.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:00 pm
Scott Sinclair is the top goalscorer in the division (Pic Scott Louden)
Scott Sinclair is the top goalscorer in the division (Pic Scott Louden)

They’re now aiming to build up a gap between themselves and local rivals Syngenta, currently sitting one point behind them but with three games in hand

Unbeaten Syngenta had been table-toppers throughout the current season until now, so Irvine believes the title race is well and truly on.

“I’ve been saying the same thing every week, but there is still so much to play for points-wise,” he insisted. “Even when they were ahead by a good few points, there was no panic on our end.

“My team can win games in any manner and we have a great spirit about us.

“We play them twice as well still, so the league is by no way won or lost at this stage.

“What it does is it gives us a chance to control our own destiny.”

Athletic’s 39-goal hitman Scott Sinclair notched up four of the goals on Saturday, with Tiwi Daramola, Blair Woodburn and Jonny Mitchell also getting on the scoresheet.

The boss was happy with the attacking threat posed by his team once again, saying: “They’re always a threat and they know how to find the back of the net.

“The big thing for me with forward players is if they can score goals. It sounds daft, but sometimes it gets overlooked for their technical ability or traits. I don’t mind if they can’t do anything but score.

“The sheer amount of goals we have scored so far is immense. We have scored 68 goals in 16 league matches, which is a return to be proud of at any level of football.

“We play the game the right way and everyone has bought into it.”

Athletic travel to ninth-placed Edinburgh College on Saturday as they look to keep hold of top spot.

Looking ahead to that match, Irvine said: “We’ve got a run of games on astroturf pitches, which is great because it will hopefully help us keep playing if the weather worsens.

“Saturday is just like last weekend and the weekend before that. We need to approach the game in the right manner because no result is a given in this league. Anything can happen.

“Syngenta drew last time they played, so it just shows you the results aren’t set in stone.”