Coach Praises Team Spirit

Coach John Sludden paid tribute to his players after coming from 2-1 down to beat Hawick Royal Albert 4-2 in Saturday evening’s Lowland League fixture at Albert Park.

It was the second successive game where Shire have emerged victorious despite being behind in the second half after a similar scenario in the cup-tie against Tynecastle two weeks earlier.

John claims it says plenty about the players’ will to win and their hunger to succeed that they have shown a calm determination simply to chip away at opponents to get what they want.

And he points out that goes beyond the eleven players on the pitch.


“I think you could see it on the sidelines on Saturday too,” he said. “The guys on the bench all kept on encouraging and getting right behind the team. It’s one great thing we have here is our team spirit and that includes the guys who aren’t playing.

“We all want to win and we all stick together to help each other when things aren’t going to plan.”

The plan was to overcome the bobbly pitch by being more direct and getting the strikers involved in the action early. But the coach admits it was not something that bore early success as the home team went ahead after 13 minutes.

“We knew the surface wasn’t going to be easy so we told the players to get the ball in to the strikers early,” said John. “But we wren’t able to do that and we started to play too many passes and we ended up getting bogged down.

“To be fair to them Hawick played the conditions much better in the first half hour but after that I thought we got to grips with the game.”

That was underlined by Shire’s equalising goal from Andy Rodgers after 33 minutes and three minutes later they were unlucky not to be in front after David Grant’s shot hit the post. But rather than pick up from where they left off the team found themselves behind again quickly after the re-start.

“It was just us being sloppy,” said John  of Kris Mitchell’s counter for the home team. “We switched off and allowed their guy to run onto a long ball and finish and that shouldn’t happen. But, to be fair, the defence held their hands up for that one.”

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

What pleased the coach most, though, was the way the team once again responded to adversity. They regained a foothold although it took until 76 minutes for Jamie Glasgow to level the scores.

Four minutes later Rodgers put Shire in front and Paul Sludden provided the gloss with a fourth goal in injury-time.

“It was great to see the way the team came back,” said the coach. “We put Jamie Glasgow and Steven Brisbane on just to freshen things up and they provided the spark that we needed.

“It was a difficult game but we always knew it would be. That said, once we got the second goal were were able to kick on and get more.”