Stirling University men’s team have had their season ended after just 15 games, a Lowland League announcement confirmed today.
The league was suspended indefinitely in January due to the increasing threat of COVID-19, along with all other divisions under the Scottish Championship.
Scottish League One and Two have now returned to play, but the Lowland League has been left in limbo, with no football played since January.
Now, more than two months later, the league has been decided on a points per game basis to ensure that games in hand have been accounted for.
Kelty Hearts have been declared champions for a second season in a row – and finally look like they will have a shot at a promotion play-off to enter the SPFL pyramid.c\d3e
The Stirling students finished the season in ninth – despite sitting in sixth when the league was suspended in January. This is due to the points per game ruling.
Stirling University Head Coach Chris Geddes is disappointed with the way the season has ended, but believes it was the right decision from the league.
He said: “It’s disappointing for everyone, but we’ve just ran out of time.
“Because there’s no testing at this level, we just can’t play. There are some disgruntled teams in the league, and if I was in their position, I would be too, but luckily, we aren’t in that position.
“In the end I think it is the only decision that could be made.”
Despite only playing for three months, it has been a memorable season for Stirling, who were having one of their best seasons in recent memory.
Good performances against champions Kelty, as well as a draw against Bonnyrigg, were highlights, along with a terrific away win against Spartans and a 7-1 Boxing Day derby win against Edinburgh University.
Stirling striker Jamie Penker also ended the season as the league’s top goalscorer, notching 11 goals.
Geddes now has his sights set on next season, with the league confirmed to start on July 17. It will be a year of rebuilding for Stirling, with the departure of numerous first team players who are graduating.
He said: “It’s great that we at least have a start date now, and our full focus is on next season.
“It is an earlier start so we will be starting training in June. We’re in training now, but we will give the players a five week break before we come back next season.
“Because it is a rebuilding year, we will need to do a lot of work on the pitch with the new boys, but we’re all looking forward to it now.”
Image Credits: Stirling University FC/ George Vekic