TRANENT Juniors boss Colin Nish has challenged his side to stay within “touching distance” of their rivals for promotion ahead of vital clashes.

The Belters are firmly in the hunt for promotion from the Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL) as they look for back-to-back league titles.

The county side have eight games left and trail Spartans, who sit second in the table behind Rangers B – who cannot be promoted – by two points.

Stirling University are also firmly in the mix, with the three clubs eligible for promotion all still to play each other.

READ MORE: Tranent Juniors boss pushing for back-to-back promotions

Nish told Courier Sport: “[Promotion] is not something we talk about. It is more something you just let linger within the squad.

“We know it is there and are quite excited but it is not something we talk about a lot.

“It is never usually the fact that we are close to this or that. We just take each game as it comes and there are going to be twists or turns.

“In an ideal world, if we stay within touching distance before we play them, to go into those games with Stirling University and Spartans, as long as we are within touching distance, I’ll be quite happy.”

Tranent face Rangers B on Saturday and have back-to-back meetings with Stirling University and Spartans at the beginning of April to look forward to.

East Lothian Courier: Tranent Juniors and Celtic B are among the clubs in the race for the Lowland League titleTranent Juniors and Celtic B are among the clubs in the race for the Lowland League title (Image: Newsquest)

Nish watched his side draw 2-2 with the Gers last year and was looking forward to facing them once again.

The manager felt the contests with Spartans and Stirling University could be crucial in determining who battles it out with the winners of the Scottish Highland Football League in a bid to move into the national set-up.

Six of Tranent’s remaining matches come against teams in the top half of the SLFL.

Nish, who previously managed Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), said: “We have got to play a lot of the teams in the top side of the table, which will be like six-point games. There are going to be twists and turns and you cannot expect to win every week, with the quality of the opposition.

“I fully expect there will be twists and turns.

“Looking at the fixtures, other teams look to have a wee bit easier a run-in than us but that does not mean anything as long as we keep playing well.”

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Promotion for Tranent would mean Nish following in the footsteps of Calum Elliot, who guided the club to the East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) Premier Division title last term. Former Hibs star Nish succeeded the ex-Hearts striker at the helm of the Foresters Park side at the beginning of September.

He told Courier Sport: “I have enjoyed it. “We have been on a good run and it is quite enjoyable when you are winning. “We are quite fortunate that we have got a good group of players.

“We made minor adjustments within the squad, with guys leaving and a few coming in.”