1950s

East Stirlingshire transferred to Division C South West Section for season 1950/51 though unfortunately there would still be no games against Falkirk Reserves as they had switched Leagues into Division C North West Section. The only other 1st XI in our new League was Stranraer (was this their 2nd season in the Scottish Football League) in the 16 team League, all the rest of the teams were the Reserve teams of Division A & B Teams including Rangers Reserves. Shire got off to a bright start in the League being undefeated in our 1st 4 games, taking 6 out of 8 points. However, after this, despite good home form (only 2 defeats in the remaining 11 home games) the away results were very poor with only 1 further win achieved at Third Lanark Reserves on 6th January, 3-0. This run included a heavy 1-6 reverse at Stranraer in November. As a consequence we ended up in 11th place at the end of the season. Shire qualified for the Scottish Cup after reaching the Semi Final of the Scottish Midlands Qualifying Cup in which we lost 3-4 away to Brechin City. The run to the Semi Final included a huge 11-1 home win against Burntisland Shipyard. The 1st Round of the Scottish Cup took place on 27th January at Firs Park and we pulled off a remarkable result beating Division B Kilmarnock 2-1. In the 2nd Round (the last 20) we had another home tie, this time against Heart of Midlothian, but although leading 1-0 at half time we went out 1-5 in front of a massive 11,000 crowd. A Division C South West League Cup was played but Shire went out in the Group stages, finishing in 3rd place in a 4 team section despite having large wins at home against Stranraer (5-1) and Dumbarton Reserves (6-2). The held over 2nd Leg of the 1949/50 Dewar Shield Final against Aberdeen was played at Pittodrie in August but we lost out 0-3 and therefore 1-6 overall. In the Stirlingshire Cup we lost in the Semi Final 1-3 at home to Falkirk. At the end of the season Shire lost 3-4 away to Falkirk in the 2nd Round of the Penman Cup but the competition was never completed.

Shire remained in Division C South West the following season. Again the 16 team League was virtually filled with Division A and B Reserve teams with the exception of The Shire and Stranraer. We got off to a great start in the League winning 5 of our 1st 6 games but then things went horribly wrong and only 1 win was recorded in our next 17 League games. That 1 win during the bad run was finally achieved on 27th October after 7 winless games but it was a false dawn as we then went on to play another 9 games without a win. However, just when it looked like we would end up bottom of the Division we rediscovered our early season form winning 4 and drawing 3 of our final 7 games to end the season in 11th place. The Shire were drawn against Division A Greenock Morton away in the 1st Round of the Scottish Cup and in front of a crowd of 5786 we went out 0-2. We also competed in the Division C League Cup winning our 4 team Section C South and West Group by 4 points, winning 4 and drawing 2 of our 6 games. We then met Clyde Reserves in the 2 Legged Quarter Final but lost both legs going out 3-6 on aggregate. In the Stirlingshire Cup Shire went out in the 1st Round away to Dumbarton 3-4. Also we lost in the 1st Round of the Stirlingshire Consolation Cup at home to neighbours Stenhousemuir, 1-4. At the start of the season a one off tournament called the Festival of Britain was played but we lost our one game 1-7 away to Berwick Rangers, the 1st time we had ever played them. In December Shire played a couple of friendlies to fill up the schedule drawing them both 4-4, away to Stirling Albion and at home to Falkirk.

The 1952/53 Division C South West campaign was sadly worse that the previous season with Shire finishing bottom of the 14 team League. We had had a reasonable start to the League season with 8 points gained in our 1st 8 games, including a 5-4 away win at Stranraer. However, we then went on a run of 12 games where we only drew 1 and lost the rest. Form did pick up in the final 6 games, when we won 4 of our matches, but it was too late to avoid last place in the League. Shire again went out in the 2nd Round of the Scottish Cup (after receiving a bye in the 1st Round), this time 0-2 away to Division B Albion Rovers. We were in a 3 team Division C South and West League Cup Group with Clyde Reserves and Kilmarnock Reserves and although we only lost 1 match we could only win 1 of the other 3 games and ended up 2nd in the Section. The Stirlingshire Cup saw Shire reach the Final, beating Stenhousemuir 1-0 at home and Falkirk 1-0 away on the way to the Final. The end of season Brockville Park Final was against Dumbarton but we lost out 1-3. We also played in the Penman Cup in 1952/53 but went out 2-7 away to Cowdenbeath in a 1st Round Replay after the 1st game at Firs Park had been drawn 2-2.

Shire were still in Division C South and West for season 1953/54 and the teams in the League were virtually exactly the same as the season before with only Hamilton Academical Reserves coming into replace Greenock Morton Reserves. Our performance was an improvement on 1952/53 but we still only recorded 9 wins all season and with a runs of 8 straight defeats in our last 8 games the 10th placing in the final table was to be expected. Shire had a catastrophic defeat in the 1st Round of the Scottish Cup away to Berwick Rangers (a fellow Division C team who played in the North and East Section of the League) when we went out 0-7. In the Division C League Cup South & West Section A Shire had a torrid time in the 4 team group failing to score in any of our 6 group matches and only avoid defeat once when a 0-0 home draw was gained against Motherwell Reserves. In the Stirlingshire Cup Shire went out in the Semi Final 1-2 away to Stenhousemuir.

The following season Shire moved over to the 13 team Division C North and East. To augment the fixture list a 12 game Supplementary Division C North East League Section B was played before the main League started. In the Supplementary League Shire did a lot better than in recent seasons winning 5 games and ending up in 6th place. These wins included home and away wins against Falkirk Reserves, 5-3 and 3-1 respectively, and a 1st ever win against Berwick Rangers, 3-1, at Firs Park. The Division C North East League started in November and included the 1st XIs of Montrose and Berwick Rangers along with the Shire, with the rest of the League being made up of Reserve teams. Shire ended up in 10th place in the League at the season’s conclusion. Along the way we had been involved in some high scoring games including a 5-5 home draw against Celtic Reserves, a 5-4 home win against Heart of Midlothian Reserves and a 6-4 home win against Dunfermline Athletic Reserves. Shire entered the Scottish Cup at the 3rd Round stage but lost the away tie to Fraserburgh 2-4. The Stirlingshire Cup saw us win our 1st Round tie 4-2 away to Dumbarton but then scratch from our away Semi Final tie against Alloa Athletic. At the start of the season Shire went down to our 2nd heaviest defeat ever against Falkirk losing 1-9 at Brockville Park in the 1st Round of the Penman Cup.

Finally after years of lobbying the Scottish League revamped its’ League set up for season 1955/56 and the 1st teams of East Stirlingshire, Berwick Rangers, Montrose, Stranraer and Dumbarton were accepted into an increased Division B. It had been 6 seasons Shire since had played in the 2nd tier of Scottish football and for the 1st five games back, at least, it was like we had never been away. In these opening 5 games we won 2 and drew 3 games including a 6-0 home win against Berwick Rangers and a 5-5 home draw against Dundee United in front of a 1500 crowd. As the League season progressed, however, our form dipped and a poor run at the end of the campaign of 1 win and 10 defeats in our final 11 games meant we ended up in 16th place in the 19 team League. Shire again entered the Scottish Cup at the 3rd Round and this time we won our away tie at Keith 4-2. The next round we were at home to Arbroath but lost 0-2. We played in Section 9 of the League Cup and despite winning our 1st 2 matches defeats in our remaining 2 matches meant we failed to qualify and we ended up in 2nd place in the Group. In the Stirlingshire Cup 1st Round we travelled the short distance to Brockville Park to play Falkirk but failed to progress, going out 0-3.

This photo was taken before the 24/8/1955 away Division B match against Stenhousemuir.               

Published in the Falkirk Herald 27/8/1955

Season 1956/57 was a very poor one for the club on the pitch. The League was renamed Division Two but Shire’s form throughout the season wasn’t great. It took until the 5th League game before we recorded a win, 5-3 at home against Stirling Albion. Although Shire were scoring goals our defence was leaking them at an alarming rate with only 1 clean sheet being recorded in the whole campaign. In total Shire lost 121 League goals and in 10 of the games we lost 5 or more goals, the worst being a 1-7 away defeat at Albion Rovers on 5th January. Over the 36 games Shire won only 5 games and ended up in last position, albeit only 3 points off 2nd bottom team Berwick Rangers. Shire entered the Scottish Cup at the 3rd Round that season and won comfortably away 4-1 at Clachnacuddin. In the next round we were drawn at home against fellow Division Two team, Greenock Morton, and recorded a credible 1-1 draw in front of a 4000 crowd. Unfortunately we lost the replay at Cappielow 1-4. The Scottish League Cup was played at the start of the season and Shire won 2 and lost 2 of our 4 team Section 9 Group games, though one of our defeats was a horrendous 2-9 reverse at Albion Rovers. Shire also went out in the Semi Final of the Stirlingshire Cup at Alloa Athletic. In the Penman Cup Shire lost by a terrible margin of 0-8 in the Semi Final of the Penman Cup away to Stirling Albion.

This photo was taken 21/8/1957 before the start of 1st home Division Two match of the season against Ayr United.

Before the next season started Milngavie Car Dealers, Jack and Charlie Steedman, bought what they thought at that time was a controlling interest in East Stirlingshire FC and became board members of the club. They then started the process of changing the club’s fortunes. 1957/58 saw an improvement on the previous season with the Shire winning a 3rd of our League games and moving up to a 15th place in the table at the season’s end. The start of the season hadn’t been the best, with only 2 wins being record in our 1st 13 games but as the raft of new players who had joined the club started to gel during the season results began to improve with further new players joining as the season progressed. The Scottish Cup saw Shire drawn at home to Division One Motherwell in the 1st Round but the home fans in the 3500 crowd saw Shire go disappointingly out, 3-7. Shire were again in the Section 9 five team League Cup Group which was played at the start of the season, but 2 wins and draw wasn’t enough to see us through to the next stage. Shire also suffered a heavy 2-7 away defeat to Dumbarton in the 1st Round of the Stirlingshire Cup.

The gradual improvement of the clubs fortunes on the pitch proved to be a slow progress with the Shire disappointingly ending up again in 15th place in the Division Two table in season 1958/59. It had all started so well with 4 wins in our 1st 4 games, including a 5-2 home win against Dundee United, taking us to the top of the League. However, after a particularly bad 0-8 defeat at Albion Rovers on 8th November, Shire went on a 4 months run of 14 games without a win which plummeted us down the table. It was only at last in April that the team regained some level of form, winning 2 and drawing 1 of our last 4 games. Shire’s participation in the 1958/59 Scottish Cup was played out over an incredible 3 days in row from 9th to 11th February. Our 1st Round tie was against fellow Division Two strugglers, Dundee United, and the 1100 crowd saw us draw 1-1 at Firs Park. The  Replay at Tannadice the following day ended 0-0 after extra time (note that Shire had played in Stenhousemuir’s home strip due to a clash in colours). So a 2nd Replay was played 1 day later at Tynecastle which Shire lost 0-4 in front of a 2480 crowd (note this time Shire played in Falkirk’s change strip of Tangerine to avoid the clash of colours). Shire’s now annual appearance in Section 9 of the League Cup at the start of the season saw us lose all 4 games. Shire also went out early in the Stirlingshire Cup losing 1 nil at Stenhousemuir in the 1st Round. In the Penman Cup we reached the Final for the 1st time since 1913/14 due to walkovers against Falkirk and Stirling Albion in the 1st Round and Semi Final respectively. The Final was held over until the next season.

The 1959/60 season saw more changes to the Shire team as the club and the Steedman’s sought to improve the results on the park. Legendary Shire player, Eddie McCreadie, had made his debut for the Shire in the last game of the previous season and although he was initially played as a forward he was soon moved further back in what was a very youthful team. Shire got off to a great start in our League campaign winning 3 and drawing two of our 1st 5 games. The stand out result in this run was our famous 3-2 win at Falkirk on 5th September. It was our 1st ever away League win against our town rivals and our 1st League win against Falkirk since 10th September, 1904 (though it had been 35 years since we had last played in the same League).

Results remained good until 31st October when we went on an unwanted 12 game run without a win, which included a 1-5 reverse against Falkirk at Firs Park on New Year’s Day. Just like the previous season a revival took place in April but it was too late to avoid Shire ending up in 15th place in the League table for the 3rd season running. In the Scottish Cup we had a run to the 3rd Round (last 16) which started with a 1-0 away win at Greenock Morton in the 1st Round and a 4-1 away win at Caledonian in a 2nd Round Replay after the original game was drawn 1-1 at Firs Park. The prize for reaching the 3rd Round was a home tie against Division One Hibernian which was played on 5th March when the huge 8,500 crowd saw the Shire go out 0-3. Shire once again failed to escape Section 9 of the League Cup at the start of the season, only winning 1 and losing 3 of our Group games. We also took part in the Penman Cup but lost our 2nd Round Tie 1-6 away to Alloa Athletic. In the Stirlingshire Cup we went out away at Dumbarton 1-3 in the 1st Round. The held over 1958/59 Penman Cup Final away to Raith Rovers was played at the start of the season but Shire lost 2-5. In the 1959/60 Penman Cup tournament we lost in the 1st Round 1-6 away to Alloa Athletic.