THERE will be some significant changes on the Junior football scene next season with the introduction of an established club in the South Division and also an added two spots on the subs benches for all bosses in the game.
Joining the Juniors at the bottom rung will be a Spartans side keen to make as much of an impact here as they have on the senior game.
The capital side play in the East of Scotland league but their interest in playing a Junior side has been well documented and this season they have finally got their wish but they will still maintain a presence in the amateur ranks as well.
Spartans are joining the South Division where they will start the season in the League Cup. Should they be successful then they will progress as the same as any other Junior Club.
And for the first time Junior bosses will be able to call upon seven subs after league beaks agreed to raise the number of players available on the bench on matchdays.
This could well prove to be a bittersweet decision which will favour some and hinder others due to the fact many clubs don’t have sufficient players on their books to fill the bench.
It is not uncommon during the season for teams struck by injuries and suspensions to struggle to field a first XI some weeks never mind a matchday pool of 18.
Stoneyburn’s pre-season training has been boosted with the news that Robin Butler has been appointed new boss.
Butler boasts a wealth of experience as a player and as a manager in the Junior game and he will be ably assisted by John Ellis at the club.
Stoneyburn had a good season last year and they definitely have a promotion challenge in their sights for the coming campaign.
They have drafted in some new faces already but Butler is tipped to bring in a few more before the opening whistle sounds on the season.
Down the road in Blackburn, they have stolen the show with a blockbuster friendly match after they revealed they have lured Junior Scottish Cup winners Auchinleck Talbot to Murrayfield for Mark Campbell’s testimonial on Saturday, July 18.
The match is scheduled to start at 2pm and is just rewards for a man who has been a revelation on the field and in the manager’s hot-seat for Blackburn.
Auchinleck are expected to bring the Scottish Cup to the game and will give young fans the opportunity for pictures to be taken with the trophy which may not visit the county town for a long time again.
Blackburn started their pre-season training last Monday and have invited the under 19s and 16s along to take part.
This is a good introduction to a better level of football for the youngsters and an opportunity for Mark Campbell to see any young talent coming through the ranks.
Elsewhere in West Lothian Fauldhouse have been very busy and have been put through their early preseason paces by ex-Rangers and Hearts star Sandy Clark.
Clark is the uncle of Hoose stopper Andy Cooper and he persuaded the retired star to bridge the gap while regular manager Allan Prosser and assistant Brian Martin are both on holiday.