Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gretna Have a Lust for Glory

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gretna Have a Lust for Glory

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

In hindsight, the signs that Gretna's appetite for success is far from sated first came at Castle Douglas last month when Rowan Alexander's unsympathetic side condemned Threave Rovers to an 18-0 sacking that redefined the concept of a pre-season friendly.

The traumatised part-timers from the South of Scotland League club can at least draw comfort from the fact that more esteemed teams have since been dismantled in an equally-ruthless fashion.

The relentless progress of Scottish sport's fastest-moving force shows no sign of slowing. In beginning their maiden campaign in the First Division with a 6-0 demolition of Hamilton at the weekend, the Black-and-Whites showed that contentment will not come until Premier League status is theirs.

The runaway champions of Division Three in 2005, the overwhelming winners of Division Two in 2006, a team rewriting the record books can boast the leadership of Division One this morning ( albeit after just one fixture.

Who would bet against Gretna still sitting at the top of the table on April 27, 2007, an unprecedented rise through the Scottish division complete, a hat-trick of consecutive championships theirs? Certainly not Hamilton. Definitely not Threave.

While the latter were opponents of limited pedigree, the former team finished third in the First Division standings last season and are among the favourites to win promotion to the SPL this time around. That a Gretna side with supreme confidence in their talents are no respecters of reputation is perhaps their greatest strength.

Theirs is an unshakeable belief that has swept them from the Unibond League to within one successful season of Scotland's top division in the space of four momentous years ( a belief that has seen them take Hearts to penalties at the Scottish Cup final and won a growing army of admirers, a belief that has secured Uefa Cup qualification.

Gretna will play their first game in European competition this week. …

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