BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
THE BASE of Scottish football’s pyramid system has been strengthened after Civil Service Strollers and Hawick Royal Albert won admission to the Lowland League.
With bottom side Threave Rovers having submitted their resignation, the league – which operates below League Two – will now operate with 16 clubs from next season.
The value of the division, which was set up in 2013 with an initial 12 clubs, was clearly displayed last month when champions Edinburgh City won promotion to the SPFL after defeating League Two’s bottom team East Stirlingshire in a play-off.
Shire will play in the Lowland League next term and will now be joined by Strollers and Hawick after the East of Scotland pair were selected following a rigorous application process.
It is understood the Edusport Academy, who currently compete in the South of Scotland League, were unsuccessful in their application.
It was always intended the league would expand to 16 once clubs met the necessary criteria, with that number deemed ideal for both the league structure and various cup competitions.
Lowland League chairman Andrew Waddell, the former international referee, said: “We interviewed the applicants and the board members assessed them against a series of performance criteria.
“The final results were close but Hawick Royal Albert and Civil Service Strollers came out ahead. We welcome them to the Lowland League.”