The Lowland League – Title Runners and Riders

The Lowland League is shaping up to be the most exciting league in Scotland this season, with a number of teams challenging for the title, and a promotion play-off place.

The top seven are currently separated by just five points, but we are starting to get a picture of who is best placed to take the title.

Looking at the opening two months of the league, here are the teams who could be top of the table come the end the season and gain the all-important chance to enter the SPFL.

East Kilbride

We have to start this list at the top of the league – where unbeaten East Kilbride currently sit. Stephen Aitken’s side have made a fantastic start to the season, competing well with title rivals – beating Kelty Hearts and earning a hard-fought point away to Bo’ness United.

EK have strengthened their squad considerably following last season’s disappointing seventh place finish, bringing in the likes of Paul Paton, Kyle Hutton and Chris Erskine, who between them have over 1,000 games worth of SPFL experience.

This has clearly helped the South Lanarkshire side in their push for the league, with a spine of a squad good enough for at least League Two. They have also conceded the second lowest amount of goals in the league at just four, and they will be hoping to continue that form into the rest of the season. EK are arguably title favourites as it stands.

Kelty Hearts

Kelty’s league start has been somewhat hampered by their success last season, leading to their inclusion in the Betfred Cup group stages. This left them unexpectedly in seventh place due to a fixture backlog, but The Hearts are quickly climbing up the table. With a further game in hand, they have the opportunity to be back at the top of the table with just one more win, sitting just two points behind EK.

New signing Kallum Higginbotham has had a lightening start to his career at The Hearts, scoring four league goals already. A player of his calibre will undoubtedly cause defences at this level problems, and the tricky midfielder has already done just that, best shown by his flicked assist to set up ex-Raith winger Grant Anderson against Dalbeattie Star.

Kelty may trail behind, but the experience of winning the league last season will undoubtedly spur them on to the very top of the league in no time.

Credit: Dunfermline Press

BSC Glasgow

BSC Glasgow are potentially the most exciting team in the league and definitely dark horses for the title. The side, based in Alloa, have scored 27 goals in the league so far, making them the division’s top goalscorers.

They do tend to concede more than their rivals, having already let in 10 more goals than Kelty Hearts, but their ability to score goals at the other end somewhat cancels out these defensive inadequacies.

The goals are spread across their team too, always a good sign in a title race, and with a favourable run of fixtures up until new year, they could find themselves in the league’s top spot.

Bo’ness United

Having won the East of Scotland Premier Division last season, Bo’ness have started life in the Lowland League in fine form, pushing at the top end of the league and in serious contention of winning the division at the first time of asking.

Striker Zander Miller has been at the forefront of good attacking play for United, scoring six of the team’s 21 goals, including a hattrick in the 4-4 thriller against BSC Glasgow this month.

They were unbeaten in the league until this week’s shock defeat to Stirling University, and if they can turn draws into more wins, then they could be a dark horse in the title race.

Honourable Mentions

A fair few other teams will feel aggrieved to be left off this list, mainly East Stirlingshire, Gala Fairydean Rovers and Bonnyrigg Rose, and whilst they may just fall short, they will push the top teams right until the end of the season.

Bonnyrigg have been particularly impressive, currently sitting fourth in the division, with a resolute defence and experienced striker Kieran McGachie firing on all cylinders again. East Stirlingshire have also started well, but recent bad results have dropped them down to fifth.

Mid-table sides are also likely to play a part in the title race, with teams like Stirling University already having taken points off bigger sides – a team who also have the league’s top goal scorer, Jamie Penker, in their ranks. The Spartans and Berwick Rangers will also be tough hunting grounds for title challengers.

There are still over 20 games to be played by each team, but if the opening six weeks of the season are anything to go by, we are in for one hell of a title fight.

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