Hawick Royal Albert 3

Dalkeith Thistle 1

David Knox at Albert Park

ALBERT boss Kenny Aitchison believes there’s much better to come from his new team after they saw off junior side Dalkeith Thistle on Saturday.

The 23-year-old, who became the youngest manager in Scottish senior football on his appointment last month, was without seven recently-signed players for his first home friendly.

But a battling team performance was rewarded with a win against his Midlothain opponents.

Aitchison told the Border Telegraph: “We had seven key players missing and used several trialists but we defended well and took our opportunities when they arrived.

“We worked hard today and we got our rewards.

“We still have a lot of guys coming in and it’s difficult to tell how we will gel but I know we will get better than what you saw today.

“We’ll take it one game at a time and to survive in the league would be an achievement but I think we can do it.”

Trialist striker Molanin Touray fired Hawick in front on 27 minutes after latching onto Darren Thomson’s cross.

But they had survived several scares prior to the goal with keeper Craig Saunders making a couple of good blocks, and both Lewis Knox and Declan Hogg making timely challenges in front of goal.

The lead was to only last eight minutes, though, as Kenny McMillan’s glancing header from a Darren Leslie freekick wrong-footed Saunders.

Hawick began the second half well and they were rewarded with an Alasdair Simpson strike from close range on 51 minutes to regain the lead.

Chris Cairns almost added a third for the home team but his clearance charge down flew inches past the far post.

The Albert endured sustained pressure as the second half wore on with Hogg blocking a Stuart Adams shot on the line, and Saunders producing a good near-post save to deny Paul Tansey.

Aitchison’s team defended well and when they got their own chance with four minutes remaining they took it.

Michael O’Rourke drew out two defenders before dinking a cross into the back post for Cairns to nod home.

It was a dream start at Albert Park for the new manager.

Kenny added: “I love being in charge and putting my own stamp onto the club.

“We’ve not got a Kenny Aitchison team out there yet but give me a few months and I hope to start having a big influence.”

Hawick Royal Albert. C Saunders, L Knox, S Spence, J Clunie (T Meldrum 46), D Hogg, G Peddie, C Cairns, A Simpson, M Touray (M O’Rourke 65), M Johnson (P McLaughlin 46) & D Thomson (C Knaggs 86).