Month: September 2016

Let’s Keep Together – Sludden

Coach John Sludden has issued a rallying call for everyone at the club to “keep together” as the team aims to make up for recent disappointments, including the 1-0 weekend defeat at Spartans.

The defeat still leaves the team sitting in fifth place behind leaders East Kilbride but the Shire boss insists nothing has changed in terms of the aims and ambitions that were set before the season started.

In response to the inevitable questions about the team being able to win the Lowland League title from their current position, John had this to say :

“Right from the start everyone at the club knew we had no divine right to win the Lowland League and go straight back up. We always knew it was going to be tough; we knew that right from the word go. But we just have to keep together, work together, help each other and that means everybody.

“We get ready to go again on Saturday. We want to win on Saturday and if we show that attitude, effort and work rate and add to that what we have been doing going forward then we can’t ask for much more.”

The coach was pleased with an overall much better defensive display from his players but conceded they could have done more in an offensive sense. After a bright opening half hour in which Shire hit the crossbar and had two shots cleared off the line, the second half did not produce as much attacking play, although David Grant did have one great opportunity to score with just three minutes left.

“They had a wee spell in the second half, which is going to happen. They are the home team but we dealt with it and became stronger. Granty’s one, on other days that would go in for us, and it’s just unfortunate it went just the other side of the post.

“At that point we would have taken the draw but it’s just sloppy play from us that has cost us.”

While some have argued about the merits of the penalty award which won the game, the coach did not wish to make an issue of it.

“I have no qualms with the penalty,” he said. “Our boy’s made an honest attempt to get the ball. It’s the play leading up to it when we let the ball come into the box and it’s our concentration that’s cost us.”

You can listen to the full post-game interview with the Shire coach by clicking on the link :

Still Plenty to Play For – Greene

Shire defender Connor Greene insists the team’s pre-season Lowland League title-winning ambitions are not over despite a narrow 1-0 defeat at Spartans over the weekend.

The 20 year-old was involved in the incident which saw match referee Simon McLean award an injury-time penalty kick which allowed Craig Johnston to score and win the game right at the death.

The result leaves Shire eight points behind leaders East Kilbride who now have a game in hand as well. But despite all that Connor is resolute that nothing will be decided until the season is complete.

“One result doesn’t change that,” he said. “There are still 20 games, or whatever, to play and that’s a long way to go. There’s no way any team can go through the season unbeaten so we just need to keep putting as many wins together as possible and our chance will come.”

Shire’s next league match against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview on Saturday now takes on added importance. Connor says there is no time to feel sorry for ourselves and instead everyone needs to get on with the job of collecting more league points.

“Everyone is absolutely disappointed,” he said. “We just need to dust ourselves off, get ready to go next week, go on a wee run and get points on the board.”

The penalty incident still hurts, especially after the team had produced one of its best defensive displays of the season. Connor says it’s just something we’ll have to live with.

“I thought their boy had a free header so I came off my man to try and help us out,” he explained. “But I ended up clashing heads. There was contact there and the linesman didn’t think it was a penalty but the referee gave it and that’s all that matters.”

After getting off to a great start, Shire faded especially in the second half and Connor accepts that if the team was to have taken all three points then they needed to have done more.

“We lost a bit of momentum when Jamie (Glasgow) went off,” he said. “But we needed to pick it up from there. We simply didn’t create enough chances, especially in the second half.”

Listen to Connor’s Full interview by clicking on the link :

Spot Kick Misery For Shire

A penalty kick awarded deep into injury-time at the end of Shire’s Lowland League game at Spartans gave the home team victory and stopped John Sludden’s men moving closer to leaders East Kilbride.

The game had almost finished when referee Steven McLean judged Connor Greene’s aerial challenge inside the penalty box illegal and Craig Johnston scored from the resulting spot kick. There was barely enough time for Shire to restart the game when the referee blew his whistle for full-time.

On a day when there was plenty at stake for both teams it was hardly a surprise that real scoring chances were at a premium. A strong, swirling wind at Ainslie Park also made life difficult for the players from both teams.

Victory for Spartans allows them to leapfrog Cumbernauld Colts into second place in the league table while Shire remain fifth.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Shire got off to a whirlwind start with some strong attacking play forcing a number of early corners. Jamie Glasgow was especially prominent down the flanks and Spartans were on the backfoot right from the first whistle.

But, crucially, Shire could not make this tell despite the flurry of corner kicks. The closest they came was a near post effort from Andy Rodgers in the very first minute which Spartans were able to scramble clear.

After play had settled down Shire suffered a severe blow when Jamie Glasgow went down with an injury in the centre circle. After treatment he tried to continue for a few minutes but he was unable to carry on and was replaced by Dylan McGuigan.

Until that point Glasgow was having plenty of joy down the left flank and had already fired over a number of dangerous crosses which was giving the Spartans rearguard plenty of work to do. Without him Shire had to re-shape after the introduction of the substitute McGuigan and that period of adjustment did lead to a lack of forward momentum.

“Jamie’s a big player for us and he gives us so much going forward,” said Shire coach John Sludden after the game. “And losing him did mean we had a spell where we had to readjust. But we did that well. Every team is going to have that in games and it’s all about man management.”

The game reached a point where both defences looked well on top, especially in the second half with neither keeper being greatly troubled. But, with three minutes left and the game resolutely deadlocked, the prolific Shire strike force did get one very clear sight of goal with David Grant, the scorer of eleven league goals this season, looking as though he would provide the all-important breakthrough. But his shot went wide of target. It was a missed chance to claim all three poimnts.

“On other day’s Granty’s one would have gone in for us,” said the Shire coach. “It’s just unfortunate that it went the other side of the post.”

The game’s one decisive moment came well into injury-time. Not surprisingly the home team went in search of a winner but Shire looked to have repulsed them until a cross from the left caused a clash of heads in the centre. After some consideration the referee pointed to the penalty spot and Craig Johnston fired the spot kick past Jamie Barclay for the game winner.

“It was just sloppy,” said the Shire coach. “We had done a good job of stopping them getting crosses into the box all day until they got one in and it was 50/50 and the referee has given it.

“I don’t have any qualms about it. Our player has made an honest attempt to get it inside the six yard box. But it’s the play leading up to it and that lack of concentration leading up to it that cost us,” said John.

The gap between Shire and the leaders has not closed with this disappointing defeat and the task the club had set itself in the summer of trying to make an instant return to the SPFL  now looks a daunting one. However, the coach is not conceding anything yet.

“We always knew it would be tough,” said John. “We have no divine right to go back up. We just have to keep together, work together, help each other and we will go again on Saturday.”

Spartans Preview

MATCH : Shire’s ninth Lowland League game of the season takes the team to Edinburgh’s Ainslie Park and a match against third top Spartans.

The outcome is important for both teams; only one point currently separates Shire and this weekend’s opponents with the teams very keen to close the gap on leaders East Kilbride who will instead be in Scottish Cup action.

Victory for Shire would see the team jump three places from fifth to second while Spartans also have their eye on the same position which is currently occupied by Cumbernauld Colts who, like the leaders, will play in the Scottish Cup on Saturday instead.

Kick-off at Ainslie Park is 3:00pm. Admission is £5.00 for adults and £3.00 for concessions. Spartans will wear their home colours of white shirts and red shorts with Shire changing into their alternative yellow shirts and blue shorts.The Shire Supporters Club is running a bus to the game; anyone looking for transport should contact Sandy Nimmo on 07803 708119 for details.

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TEAMS : Shire will be able to welcome back Paul Sludden from suspension. The striker had to sit out the team’s last two matches after being sent-off against Cumbernauld Colts earlier in the month.

Darren Dolan remains out of the team with a shoulder injury but there are no other injury or suspension worries. Teenager Simon White made his first start for the team in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Stirling University and will again be in the squad along with fellow youngster Lewis Peddie.

Spartans have some very well-known faces to Shire followers in their ranks. Chris Townsley, Scott Maxwell, David Greenhill and Michael Herd have a number of seasons experience of playing for Shire while goalie Ross Gilpin and midfielder Craig Comrie have also been on the club’s books.

PAST : Spartans are one of the few Lowland League teams Shire have played competitively prior to this season; the teams have met in the Scottish Cup twice.

The first was in the 1978/79 season when they played a second round tie on a Sunday afternoon at Firs Park after Shire agreed to help the football authorities clear up a backlog of winter postponements by playing two games in 24 hours.

Having played against Meadowbank Thistle on the Saturday in the league, Shire boss Billy Lamont sent ten of the same eleven players to face Spartans for their second game in two days, something which would be unthinkable now.

Perhaps he had regrets in hindsight as the eager and capable non-league team caused an upset winning 3-2.

The teams mt again at Ainslie Park in 2010/11 season on a typical cup-tie day; blowing a gale with horizontal rain. Paul Weaver’s goal gave Shire the interval lead but Spartans responded well and equalised only for David Dunn to fire the winner with a brilliant free-kick.

VIEWPOINT. Shire coach John Sludden is well aware of the importance of the outcome of this match and wants his team to be ready for it.

“It’ll be a very, very hard game for us,” he said. “But if we show the same attitude and workrate that we showed against Stirling University and we add to that what we have going forward then hopefully we will get a result.

“We’ll be looking to Andy Rodgers and Derek Ure and Jamie Barclay to set an example for the younger ones and help them get through it. They’ll be important players for us on Saturday. We need to get a win under the belt so it is an important game for us.”

Listen to the Shire coach talk about Saturday’s Spartans game and also reflect on Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Stirling University :

Striker Andy Rodgers has fired in six goals in six league starts this season and is certainly enjoying a new lease of life after his move from Peterhead and also his role as one of the senior members of the squad.

“I am really enjoying it,” he said. “I knew it was a young squad and maybe I needed that different role being the more experienced one helping them out . I’m loving it; there’s nothing better than seeing young boys come through and do well and if I can do anything to help them I will.

“Spartans have got a great set-up, they have experienced players that we know all about but if we play they we we did against Stirling University I don’t think we need to fear anyone,” he said.

Andy spoke after Wednesday’s game about his return to the club this season and the challenge of facing Spartans on Saturday :

300 Up For Shire Skipper

Derek Ure’s 300th league appearance for Shire at Selkirk on Saturday did not have a happy ending.
Nevertheless, the club marked the milestone in suitable fashion with a presentation to the club captain of a specially-signed top and a bottle of champagne prior to Wednesday night’s 4-1 league victory over Stirling University at Ochilview.

The presentation was made by Club President, Robert Jack.

The club captain joins a select band of players who have made 300 league appearances for Shire, including record appearance maker Gordon Russell and Gordon Simpson.

Derek made his debut for Shire as a 17 year-old second half substitute in a game against Queen’s Park on 12th January 2002 and went on to make 293 league appearances before leaving Shire for Camelon Juniors in the summer of 2011.

His return five years later gave him the opportunity to play the seven games he needed and reach his milestone.

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Robert Is 100 Club Prize Guy

Shire 100 Club member Robert Wotton is £150.00 better off after he scooped the monthly cash prize when the draw was made at Wednesday evening’s Lowland League game against Stirling University.

The draw was made by club chairman Alan Archibald and well-known season ticket holder Martin Waugh.

The Shire 100 Club is a great way for you to help the continued well-being of the club and stand the chance of winning cash prizes and other Shire goodies.

You can start contributing for as little as £5.00 per month, which will get you one entry into the monthly cash draws. You can also pay £10.00 for two entries while a £20.00 a month stake gives you four chances of claiming the £150.00 cash prize.

Why not become a member ? You can join simply by following the Shire 100 Club link on the home page.

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Strathcarron Wins Charity Challenge

A cheque for £1,000 is making its way to Strathcarron Hospice following the first of our Charity Challenges this season.
The cash was earned by former Shire players David Muirhead and Gary Higgins who had been set a football skills challenge at half-time during our recent game against Vale of Leithen at Ochilview.
Chairman Alan Archibald, Secretary Andy Williamson and Director Bill Sharp handed over a cheque at Wednesday night’s game against Stirling University to Club President Robert Jack, who is a volunteer helper at the hospice.

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Player of the month for August 2016

Jamie is Player of the Month

Shire winger Jamie Glasgow has been voted the Ladbrokes Player of the Month for August.

He has made a strong return after a number of weeks on the sidelines through injury and scored four goals in Shire’s Lowland League games during August.

Jamie’s victory as Player of the Month was secured in an online fans’ poll after he was named by head coach John Sludden as one of four nominees.

The three unlucky runners-up were Andy Grant, David Grant, and Derek Ure.

Each month this season, thanks to Shire’s main 2016/17 sponsors, Ladbrokes, the head coach will choose his top four performers over the previous four weeks.

It’ll then be up to the fans to decide which of the four players gets the prize as they vote in a poll on our social media platforms.

Jamie is pictured receiving his Ladbrokes Player of the Month award for assistant head coach, Martin Mooney.

Curry Night 21 September 2016

Come to our Curry Night

There’s no need to rush home for something to eat if you’re coming to Wednesday night’s (21st September) Lowland League game against Stirling University at Ochilview, kick-off 7:45pm.

Instead why not take advantage of the club’s Curry Night offer ?

Come along to Ochilview for an pre-match Indian meal and a couple of bottles of beer, we’ll throw in your match ticket and a programme too, all for just £28.00.

Season ticket holders can take advantage as well with the meal and a programme on offer for just £20.00.

The meal is served in the Viewing Gallery at Ochilview from 6:15pm until 7:15pm and then you’re free to take your seat to watch Shire’s latest Lowland League adventure against the Airthrey students.

It’s sure to be a good game, so why now make it a bit special by adding on an excellent social experience ?

Contact Bill Sharp to make your reservation by e-mailing bill.sharp@me.com.