ARBROATH may be conspicuous absentees from the race for the title - but defiant skipper Marc Petrie believes they can have a big say in the destination of the silverware.

Petrie’s men have endured a wretched run of form in recent weeks, and today they square up to pacesetters Grange at Raeburn Place.

It would take a brave man to bet on the Lochlands outfit to pull off a shock smash-and-grab act in the capital.

But Petrie’s glass is never half empty when it comes to faith in his team.

He said: “We are certainly experiencing a different feeling to the one we had become used to at this stage of the season.

“It is my job to make sure the lads are still motivated for the remaining matches and we desperately want to end the campaign strongly.

“Nothing could be more thought than facing Grange, who have been in great nick all summer.

“But we know we have the ability to cause an upset and we are really looking forward to the challenge.

“They have the best track in the country, so there will be no excuses.

“We are buoyed up by the fact that we are at full strength for only the second time this season.”

Grange player-coach John Blain certainly won’t be fooled by Arbroath’s position in the table.

He stated: “We have set our stall out ato improve our consistency of performance, and within that is a clinical yet respectful approach to our cricket.

“Arbroath are an excellent club who have competed on all fronts for a number of years, so they have an excellent track record.

“We will be fully focused on our job as a team.”

Champions Heriot’s - lurking in second place - have a tricky jaunt across the capital to take on Watsonians.

And Forfarshire should cling on to their third slot by accounting for RHC Lions at Broughty Ferry, while Carlton welcome inconsistent Aberdeenshire to Grange Loan.

Inverleith is the venue for the basement battle between Stew-Mel and the apparently doomed Glenrothes.