Civil Service Strollers Preview

Striker Kevin Kelbie will be absent from the Shire team that takes on Civil Service Strollers in the team’s latest Ferrari Packaging Lowland League outing on Sunday.

The summer signing from top junior side Linlithgow Rose is serving a one match ban after receiving a straight red card in the 73rd minute of last Saturday’s 0-0 league draw with Gala Fairydean Rovers at Ochilview.

Kelbie’s frustration boiled over after he alleged he had been elbowed in the face and he carried his protests to referee Alastair Grieve too far for the match official’s liking.

Kevin Kelbie was shown a straight red card reducing Shire to ten men after 73 minutes.

The main frustration felt by the coacing staff and the players after last weekend’s goalless draw was all about a failure to get a goal against Gala in the face of an inspired display by the visitors’ keeper.

Lewis Muir thwarted Shire a few times, especially in the second period, the pick of his saves came from a Kelbie header.

The result left Shire without a competitive win at Ochilview so far this season and that did not change on Wednesday evening as SPFL League 1 pacesetters Ayr United recorded a 5-1 IRN-BRU Cup victory.

Shire’s crumb of comfort was Derek Ure’s 43rd minute goal which was the first time the team has scored at Ochilview this season, and there is no doubt they will be seeking to add to that on Sunday as well as record their first home win of the season.

But it won’t be easy for Shire ; Strollers came close to getting a result against Spartans at home recently and were only denied at least a point by a penalty goal for the visitors.

The Christie Gillies Park team had none of the frustration in front of goal that Shire experienced last weekend. While John Sludden’s team couldn’t find a way past Gala Fairydean Rovers, Strollers were hitting five against one of the tightest defences in the league last season, Edinburgh University, in a East Qualifying Cup game.

Strollers will be visiting Ochilview for the first time since December last year. That day they set about looking for some sort of revenge for the 8-3 defeat they had suffered at home against Shire earlier in the season.

It didn’t look like they were going to get it after an Andy Rodgers’ hat-trick had Shire 3-1 ahead at the interval.

But a determined fightback from Strollers after the break saw them level things at 3-3 by full-time in one of the most entertaining encounters seen at Ochilview all season.

While Shire will be hoping for three points on Sunday, a similarly exciting kind of game would be welcome and the club is hoping the switch to the Sabbath might encourage a larger-than-usual crowd of fans seeking some entertaining football.

Shire will be in their traditional black and white hoops with Strollers donning their normal all red strip. The match referee is Gary Doherty and the game will have a 3:00pm kick-off. Admission is £8.00 for adults and £4.00 concessions and match programmes, £2.00 each, will be on sale.