Month: April 2017

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 

Shire manager John Sludden


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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




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Players Heeded Warning – Coach

Shire emerged with a 3-2 victory over Lowland League champions East Kilbride after heeding a pre-match warning from coach John Sludden about how their opponents might approach the game.

The head coach admitted he was concerned with chat prior to kick-off about East Kilbride resting key players or being more concerned with the pyramid play-off games than in a final dead rubber against his team.

So his final words to his men prior to the start of the game concentrated on getting them to focus properly on the threat he was sure that East Kilbride would possess and the damage they could do if Shire were not properly focused on their task.

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“We had heard and read so much about the East Kilbride focus being on events elsewhere in the days before the match,” said John. “But I didn’t believe that at all. There is no team that goes into a game with anything else in their minds other than winning it.

“So five minutes before kick-off we sat the players down and emphasised that to them. We told them to forget about all that had been said and written in the run-up to the game and concentrate on winning it.”

The coach’s thoughts were bourne out by the match itself. Although Shire had early chances it was the visitors who took the lead and it took a strong fightback, and two David Grant goals, to put Shire ahead.

East Kilbride equalised with ten minutes to go and it took an Andy Rodgers penalty to give Shire a winning margin with five minutes to play.

“It was exactly like I said. When we went 3-2 up their players were still keen to get back into it and stop us winning,” said John. “It shows getting a result still meant something to East Kilbride and it shows you should never believe talk when people say things like, ‘their minds will be elsewhere’, because it’s almost never true.”

That said, the coach praised his players for taking on board his pre-match instructions and for trying to play the kind of football they had practised in training all week.

Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.
Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.

“In particular I thought the goals we scored were just how we want to play football with good build up from the back and then passes through for Granty to score. Even at the penalty Connor Greene has been strong for us all season at setpieces in the opposition box and it was from that we got the penalty that allowed Andy to win the game for us.

“So, all-in-all, it was very pleasing. We said we wanted to end the league season on a high and we have done that and it also puts us in the right frame of mind for the start of the League Cup next week.”

The team’s Lowland League programme is now complete but they will now move on to the end-of-season League Cup with Shire travelling to face Selkirk in the first round at Yarrow Park next Saturday (29th April) with a 3:00pm kick-off.

 

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East Kilbride Preview

Shire will close their first-ever Lowland League season with a home match against champions-elect East Kilbride at Ochilview this weekend.

Coach John Sludden will have to do without the services of captain Derek Ure who starts a two game suspension following his sending-off in last Saturday’s game at Dalbeattie Star.

The coach is also waiting on a fitness check on Liam Allison, who suffered a leg knock at Dalbeattie and was forced out of the action after just 28 minutes.

“We have said before that we will need everyone in the squad to play their part,” said John. “Derek is an important player for us but it does offer the chance to someone else to come in and stake a claim.

“We will be looking at training this week to see who has stepped up to the mark.”

The coach is also hoping to see his team get back to winning ways – a defeat and a draw in Shire’s last two matches is the first time the team has gone so long without a victory since October.

The last time Shire won a game was the 7-1 victory at Preston Athletic on 1st April .

The coach is aware that this weekend’s game will be their toughest perhaps of the entire season. Shire had their own hopes of claiming the championship but have had to settle for the runners-up slot.

“They have been worthy winners,” said John of Saturday’s visitors. “They got off to a great start and we couldn’t catch them. But it’s a game we want to win.”

Both teams have been told by match referee Mike Roncone to change into their away colours, so Shire will wear blue and yellow and East Kilbride all-white.

The players and coaches would love to see as many Shire fans as possible at what will be the club’s last home game of the 2016/17 season. Please make an effort to come along and support the team.

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More Hat-Trick Balls

Andy Rodgers and David Grant have added more hat-trick balls to their growing collection of match footballs following on from their scoring exploits in the recent victory at Preston Athletic.

Both Andy and David scored three each in the 7-1 Lowland League victory at Pennypit Park. To mark the feat Shire fan Emily Reynolds presented the players with signed match balls recently.

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This season the team has equalled the club record nine hat-tricks scored in a single season but the Prestonpans game was the first time two Shire players had scored three goals each in the same match since 1947.

Funnily enough, the last time it happened Shire also won 7-1 against Raith Rovers ‘A’ in a C Division match at Firs Park on 20th September 1947.

Well done to Andy and David and thanks to Emily for helping with the presentation.

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Club Welcomes Coo Park United AFC

Shire are delighted to be welcoming players and coaches from Coo Park United AFC  to Saturday’s final Lowland League game of the season against East Kilbride at Ochilview.

It’s sure to be a special day out for the young players who are to enjoy a VIP Hospitality afternoon with us. It’ll be a lot more than simply a pre-match lunch a chance to watch Shire in action – there’s a whole day of fun activity in the offing.

Some of the highlights include helping set up the home changing room prior to the arrival of the Shire players, the chance to have their photo taken with the SPFL trophies, and leading the Shire players out on to the pitch as mascots before the action starts at three o’clock.

There’s also going to be a mystery special guest to act as their host for the day. The players will also receive their own Shire jerseys.

It’s all part of the club’s commitment to community activity in the local area and the involvement of Coo Park United AFC  could not be more appropriate as the club is based in the same Bainsford community that gave birth to Shire in 1880.

The club was formed in 2015 and gives the chance to more than 60 youngsters aged 3 to 12 from Bainsford and Langlees to participate in football and fitness activities.

We hope everyone from Coo Park AFC  has a fun time on Saturday.

East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 


Andy Rodgers


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East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Annan Athletic Betfred Cup; 30/07/2016; Ochilview, Gladstone Road, FK5 4QL; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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Andy Gets His Reward

Well done to Shire striker Andy Rodgers as he picked up his Ladbrokes Shire March Player of the Month award at the weekend.

Shire fan Emily Reynolds was on hand to present Andy with his trophy prior to the start of Saturday’s penultimate Lowland League match of the season at Dalbeattie Star.

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Andy topped our fans’ Twitter poll ahead of fellow striker David Grant, club captain Derek Ure and Graeme MacGregor, all four of whom were picked out by head coach John Sludden as the top performers in March.

The eventual winner’s individual performances in March helped swing the vote his way – Andy scored five goals in three matches played during the month – two in the 3-3 draw at Cumbernauld Colts, the second in the 3-2 cup win over Tynecastle, and a double in the 4-2 away victory at Hawick Royal Albert.

There will, of course, be an April award with coach John Sludden making his nominations after Shire have completed the fixtures with Saturday’s home game against East Kilbride and the following week’s League Cup visit to Selkirk.

Once those games are out of the way fans will be invited to choose an overall winner via our Twitter poll, so please look out for that and get voting.

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 

Shire manager John Sludden


Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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                 home 01877 331266                       www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk 

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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                 home 01877 331266                       www.alanmurrayphotography.co.uk 

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland; 




Pic by Alan Murray
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Final Visitors Are, “Worthy Champs”

Coach John Sludden says this weekend’s final Lowland League opponents of the season, East Kilbride, are “worthy champions” but he would still like to beat them when they come to Ochilview on Saturday.

East Kilbride clinched the title almost three weeks ago after a superb run of results and were presented with the championship trophy at last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Spartans.

John did not hide the disappointment that his team had missed out on a goal he had set the players in the summer, but praised East Kilbride for their achievement. They will now go into the pyramid play-off against the winners of the Highland League.

Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald
Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald

“They are worthy champions,” said John. “They had a fantastic start. It doesn’t matter what level you play at it was a great run and it set them up for the season and they just continued on from there.

“They were very consistent throughout the season and it was very hard for the rest of us to try and catch up. During the course of the season you maybe expect teams will have a wee dip but they didn’t and they are worthy champions.”

Nevertheless, John says he believes his players have what it takes to challenge East Kilbride in this weekend’s league curtain call. He says it’s right to expect his team to want to challenge themselves against the best.

“I think we have a wee incentive to do well,” he said. “It would be good for the confidence if we were to get a result against the league champions, especially going into the League Cup so that’s what we are all aiming for.

“There’s nothing at stake I suppose but it does get you three more points but it means no more than that.”

Photo : Alan, Murray, Falkirk Herald.
Photo : Alan, Murray, Falkirk Herald.

He is keen to get back to winning ways. Shire have now gone back-to-back matches without a victory for the first time since October after Saturday’s away draw at Dalbeattie was preceded by the disappointing cup defeat at the hands of Cumbernauld Colts.

John understands the importance of not letting that negative run go any further, although he accepted that the Dalbeattie scoreline probably reflected the state of the game quite well.

“A draw was a fair result,” said the coach. “Although the boys showed a good togetherness in coming back from 2-0 down to draw level and then create chances to go ahead. But it just wasn’t to be.”

One handicap for Saturday’s East Kilbride game will be the absence of club captain Derek Ure through suspension. He was sent-off close to the end of the Dalbeattie game and has been given a two game ban as a consequence.

“It was a soft sending-off and he is a very important player for us,” said the head coach. “However, it sends out a message to the other guys that here is a chance for you to come in and stake a claim.

“It’s happened before over the course of a season and we will be looking for guys who are thinking this could be my chance.”

The coach also revealed he will give Liam Allison every chance to prove his fitness ahead of the East Kilbride clash. The utility player lasted just 28 minutes at Dalbeattie before pulling up with a leg knock.

He has been receiving treatment and a decision on whether or not he will be part of the squad will be made much closer to Saturday’s kick-off time.

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Ure Out For Two Games

Shire’s end-of-season has been dealt a blow after club captain Derek Ure was given a two game suspension following his red card in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Dalbeattie Star.

It means the skipper will miss this weekend’s last Lowland League game of the season when Shire host champions-elect East Kilbride at Ochilview and he will also be out of the following week’s Lowland League Cup match at Selkirk.

Derek was sent-off quarter of an hour before the end of the game at Islecroft Stadium, his second dismissal this season.

“I’ve watched it again and I think the sending-off was soft,” was coach John Sludden’s response.

“It’s disappointing to have such an important player out for these games,” said John. “But it does offer someone else the chance to work hard in training this week and impress us enough to include them.”

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Come And Show Your Support

Everyone with the Shire at heart is being urged to come to Ochilview on Saturday for the club’s final home game of the season as the team takes on champions-elect East Kilbride (3:00pm).

It’s a great opportunity to show your appreciation for what has been a fanbtastic effort from coach John Sludden and the players this term.

There have been some great memories to look back on and there can be little doubt that having scored more than 120 goals over the course of the season, Shire have been THE team to watch.

Saturday’s game will close out the 2016/17 Lowland League season and the players will be aiming to finish off with a victory.

Please come if you are able to give the team a big thank you for their efforts over the entire campaign.

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Dalbeattie Star Preview

Shire will travel to Dalbeattie Star’s Islecroft Stadium for the penultimate Lowland League match determined to round off the season on a high note.

Coach John Sludden is hoping to take a full squad south for the club’s first visit to Dalbeattie since a 2-1 Scottish Cup victory there in 1998/99 season, and also with the hope of extending an unbeaten run in league matches to seven games.

It will be the team’s first outing since the disappointing 3-2 defeat in the semi-final of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup against Cumbernauld Colts and the coach wants to see a positive reaction to that reverse.

“There is still plenty to play for,” he said. “We want to end the league on a high and win our last two games which should get us in the right frame of mind for the one cup left,” he said. Shire will enter the first round of the Lowland League Cup with an away tie at Selkirk once the league season is over on 29th April.

The team’s last league outing was a convincing 7-1 away win against Preston Athletic on 1st April, a result which combined with others elsewhere confirmed that Shire would end the season in second place.

The aim now is to close the final gap to champions-elect East Kilbride to as few points as possible, although the coach understands that the game against Dalbeattie Star will be far from straightforward for his team.

“Every game is tough in this league,” said John. “Even now every team we play still wants to beat us simply because of where we have come from.”

It was certainly tough for Shire in the reverse fixture against this weekend’s opponents. It required a goal from Connor Greene deep into injury-time at the end of the 90 minutes to snatch a 2-1 victory in one of the closest, and most keenly-contested matches they have played at Ochilview this season.

Star have not played a competitive game since 25th March but they have been keeping up to speed with some friendly games and recently competed well against promotion-chasing SPFL League 2 side Annan Athletic before going down to a 2-0 defeat.

They should have two of their top players, Iain Anderson, who has scored eight times this season, and Lewis Sloan, available this time around – both men missed out on the Ochilview clash in November – and they will be a much tougher proposition on their home turf.

Dalbeattie will also have a cause to play for. They still have an outside shot of making fourth place at season’s end which would guarantee a place in next season’s IRN-BRU Cup but need to end with a couple of wins to even have a chance of unseating Stirling University.

It all promises to provide a great afternoon’s action. Shire will wear their change yellow and blue colours for the game which will be refereed by Craig King. The coaches and players would love to see as many Shire fans as possible make the trip to Dumfriesshire, contact Sandy Nimmo on 07803 708119 for details of supporter transport.

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East Stirlings Andy Rodgers in second half action..East Stirling v Cumbernauld Colts, Lowland League, September 10th 2016. (c) Paul Cram | Johnstone Press

Think Of A Number

Shire’s goal scoring exploits have been well-documented this season both for team goals and individual players too, but we have uncovered one very unusual fact from the hundred goal plus season.

In at least one competitive match this season Shire have scored every number of goals from zero to ten.

There have been seven matches where we have failed to find the back of the net while at Gala Fairydean Rovers on 3rd December the team hit their highest single-game tally of ten and, in between, we have scored all the other numbers too.

The missing link came at Preston Athletic’s Pennypit Park on 25th March when Shire hit seven in a match for the one-and-only time. It completed a remarkable statistical oddity which cannot have been been repeated on too many previous occasions by a Scottish senior club.

For the record, we have listed below the number of goals we have scored in competitive matches and also the number of times we have scored every number between zero and ten.

0 Goals – Rangers (h), Motherwell (a), Annan Athletic (h), Montrose (h), East Kilbride (a), Spartans (a), Annan Athletic (a). 7 Matches.

1 Goal – Stranraer (a), Annan Athletic (h), Edinburgh University (h), Edinburgh University (a), Spartans (h). 5 Matches.

2 Goals – Vale of Leithen (h), Dalbeattie Star (h), Stirling University (a), Cumbernauld Colts (h). 4 Matches.

3 Goals – Hawick Royal Albert (h), Cumbernauld Colts (h), BSC Glasgow (h), Mid Annandale (a), Civil Service Strollers (h), Gretna 2008 (a), Whitehill Welfare (h), Gala Fairydean Rovers (h), Cumbernauld Colts (a), Tynecastle (h). 10 Matches.

4 Goals – Selkirk (a), Stirling University (h), Vale of Leithen (a), Hawick Royal Albert (a). 4 Matches.

5 Goals – Whitehill Welfare (a), Gretna 2008 (h), Selkirk (h). 3 Matches.

6 Goals – Preston Athletic (h), BSC Glasgow (a). 2 Matches.

7 Goals – Preston Athletic (a). 1 Match.

8 Goals – Civil Service Strollers (a). 1 Match.

9 Goals – Newton Stewart (h). 1 Match.

10 Goals – Gala Fairydean Rovers (a). 1 Match.