THREE of East Lothian’s four junior football clubs are on the brink of joining the senior ranks next season.

Musselburgh Athletic, Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors are among 13 new clubs accepted into the East of Scotland League for the 2018/19 season.

If they confirm their move, the trio will join county brethren Preston Athletic and Ormiston, who are among the 13 teams already in the East of Scotland League.

The decision to accept the clubs from the junior ranks was ratified at an EGM of the East of Scotland League committee last Thursday.

A spokesman for Haddington Athletic told Courier Sport: “We look forward to fresh and exciting new challenges in a revitalised East of Scotland League.

“We take the view recent developments can only prove beneficial both to clubs individually and to the wider Scottish football environment. While fully appreciative of the rich fabric of junior football after almost 80 years in that environment, it’s our belief the structure of the game in this country must change if clubs like ours are to have long-term prospects.

“No one familiar with the non-league football scene can have failed to notice the age profile of those attending games rising consistently over many years – engagement with a wider range of fans is paramount, and benefits available within a pyramid structure can only aid that.

“Those who don’t follow the junior game are understandably bewildered by the fact fixtures are issued only on a short-term basis – a number of obvious positives from early notice of a full season’s schedule are among the various factors in our recent decision to tender our resignation from the Scottish Junior Football Association.

“It’s regrettable from our perspective that our game’s governing bodies aren’t united in their efforts to improve and promote Scottish football – the vested self-interest far too prevalent over many decades has clearly been detrimental in many respects, and it’s to be hoped it’s not too late to change for the better.”

A Tranent Juniors spokesman also confirmed the club was to join the East of Scotland League.

However, Charlie McGlynn, Musselburgh Athletic chairman, told Courier Sport he was not 100 per cent sure they would switch.

He said: “We’re on the fence at the minute – we’re probably leaning towards going to the East of Scotland, which has things going for it.

“Unless the juniors offer something spectacular, I’d think we’ll be going but I can’t say for definite. We need to speak to the players first.”

If the three clubs do move, it will mean Dunbar United will be the only county club left in the junior set-up for the 2018/19 season.

Malcolm Jones, club secretary, told the Courier: “At a recent meeting of the committee and management it was unanimously agreed that Dunbar United would remain a junior football club.

“The ongoing commitment of the management and players to the club was primary in the decision made by the committee.”

Today (Thursday) is the deadline for the 13 clubs accepted into the senior set-up to confirm their move, after which an official statement is expected from the East of Scotland League committee.