Month: September 2016

Gretna 2008 Preview

MATCH : Shire’s tenth Lowland League game, completing the first third of the season, will put John Sludden’s team up against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview.

Following the last-gasp defeat at Spartans last weekend there is no doubt that Shire need the points to help close the gap on leaders East Kilbride, who are a daunting eight points clear with a game in hand. Second place Spartans are now four ahead having also played nine games so far.

Last week Shire’s opponents Gretna 2008 enjoyed a memorable Scottish Cup First Round victory away at Highland League Deveronvale, winning 3-0 at Princess Royal Park. That brought to an end a four game losing streak for the Raydale Park club who are managed by former Dumbarton striker, Paddy Flannery.

Shire have not had their problems scoring goals at Ochilview; the last two home matches, against Cumbernauld Colts and Stirling University, have ended in 4-1 wins and the team has won three on the bounce at Ochilview and remains undefeated there in the league this season.

But Saturday’s opponents don’t have any hang-ups about playing on the road; their form away from Raydale Park is far superior to their home form and they have lost just once on their travels all season.

Victory for Shire could potentially see them leap into third place while Gretna 2008 would move back into the top half of the division again were they to keep their good away form going.

Shire will wear their traditional black and white hoops with the visitors wearing their alternative strip as their all-black first choice outfit will be a clash.

Kick-off at Ochilview is 3:00pm. Admission is £8.00 adulds and £4.00 concessions.

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

TEAMS : Shire have one injury doubt over Jamie Glasgow. He was taken off just 20 minutes into last week’s match against Spartans with a tight hamstring and the winger, who has scored six goals this season, has been receiving treatment in the hope he may be fit for Saturday’s game.

Drew Ramsay, who missed last week’s trip to Spartans, will be back in the squad along with Connor Hogg. There are no suspension concerns and Darren Dolan’s long term shoulder injury means he is the only player inactive this weekend.

Gretna 2008 have made a number of recent additions to their squad, including four young players on loan from Queen of the South. They also have a number of more experienced players who have been at this grade of football for some time.

PAST : This will be the first competitive meeting of the two teams, although Shire did play the previous Gretna FC for three seasons between their election to the SFL  in 2002 and their promotion to Division Two in 2005.

These were some of Shire’s lowest years in terms of on-the-field performances and co-incided with the start of Brooks Mileson’s involvement with the Gretna team. In those seasons it was hardly surprising that Shire’s best was a 2-2 draw at Raydale Park in 2002/03.

Shire skipper Derek Ure holds the distinction of having played in eleven of the twelve games that Shire came up against the old Gretna FC and is set to face the new Gretna club this weekend.


VIEWPOINT : Shire coach John Sludden is looking to his team to bounce back from the disappointment of losing to an injury-time penalty against Spartans last weekend.

The coach says his side have responded by winning immediately after their two previous league defeats this season and wants to see the same again from his players when they play Gretna 2008.

“The team spirit is still good,” said John .”We have bounced back before and we can do it again. For all the effort they put into last Saturday’s game it was a sore one for us to take because the team deserved to take at least a point out the game.

“If you look back to the Stirling University game we started that one well and we scored a couple of good goals and we are looking to do that again on Saturday and hopefully we can get another good home result,” said John.

You can listen to John’s pre-match thought’s by clicking on the link below for the whole of his interview.

We Need A Complete Performance – Murray

Defender Adam Murray got the encouragement of coach John Sludden for his performances over the last couple of games and now he’s hoping to be part of a team that can string some wins together and get back to within touching distance of Lowland League leaders East Kilbride.

The 20 year-old shares the common frustration of going through the highs and lows of inconsistent results over the course of September; something illustrated by great 4-1 wins against Cumbernauld Colts and Stirling University and disappointing, narrow defeats at the hands of East Kilbride and Spartans.

Adam says this weekend’s game against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview would be as good a place to start building some consistency as any.

“We’ve said it now for weeks. We can’t be a team that wins a game then loses a game,” he said. “We’ve got to start getting a run going and getting the wins in and that’s the main thing we’re aiming for now.”

He also appreciates that there haven’t been too many times this season where defence and attack have played well together on the same day. Often this term when the strikers have been on fire the team has shipped goals and when the defence has been on the top of their game they haven’t had the advantage of goals at the other end. Adam says it would be good to put both pieces of the team together on the same day.

“We need a complete performance,” he said. “The boys up front have been scoring goals for fun and I think maybe the defence feels we’ve let them down a bit. So I think we need to play as a team where we all work together.”

East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266               East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266               East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266               East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266               East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266               East Stirlingshire v Hawick Royal Albert; 20/08/2016; Ochilview Stadium; Falkirk District; Scotland;  Pic by Alan Murray Contact - mob   07511 123 919                  home 01877 331266             

Shire will face Gretna 2008 at Ochilview this weekend. The last-minute defeat at Spartans last Saturday has left the team playing catch-up, looking to close the eight point gap to the league leaders.

On that basis, Adam says the most important thing about the Gretna game is simply to win it, but he says they need to get things right at both ends of the pitch as well.

“On the face of it any win will do,” he said. “But it has to be more than that. From a defensive point of view we need to concentrate on keeping a clean sheet and then give the strikers the chance to score goals. Both strikers and defenders each doing their job and getting a win.”

The question of whether Shire can make up the ground lost to the league leaders has been on the lips of many people over the last week. Coach John Sludden is certainly not giving up the fight and believes the league has a long way to go yet.

Adam thinks it’s maybe time to concentrate on the old football cliche of taking one game at a time and not worrying too much just yet about title challenges.

“We aren’t going to think too much about it,” he said of the gap to East Kilbride. “I think we need to take it week-by-week and try to play as a team, get a run of wins and see where that takes us,” he said.

Youngsters Win Coach Praise

Coach John Sludden has praised the performances of teenage midfielder Simon White since winning a place in the starting line-up.

17 year-old Simon was part of the development squad last season but has broken into the senior team this term and has won a place in the last two starting elevens against Stirling University and Spartans.


“Despite his age he didn’t look out of place at all and it was another very good performance,” said the coach of Simon’s display against Spartans last weekend. “Adam (Murray) also did very well and we have basically two young kids who have gone to a very hard place to play and haven’t looked out of place at all.

“That can only be of overall benefit to the club,” said John. “You have to remember we have some young players and things will take time but it is good that we can bring kids in and know that they can do a job for us.”

The coach says much the same thing applies to another teenager, Lewis Peddie, who has started to get some Lowland League game time from the bench.

“They’re young kids. They’re still learning and they’ll make mistakes but it’s great that we can go and use them and the three of them haven’t let us down.”

Adam is the more experienced having made his Shire debut in last season’s League 2 but all three were mainstays of last season’s under-20s. Simon was the last to get a shot at league football.

His first start was against Stirling University and he made a valuable contribution with a pass which helped David Grant win the penalty that put Shire 2-1 up in the game.

It’s expected Adam, Lewis and Simon will all again be part of the sqiad to face Gretna 2008 in Shire’s latest Lowland League match at Ochilview on Saturday.


Shire History On Film

Films of Shire in action from the season that Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager are being made available by the club for the first time.

Also being made public is a brief section of a film made to celebrate the Shire’s return from Clydebank in 1965, and which shows match action from the first game played at Firs Park after campaigners defeated the Steedman brothers in court to re-locate the club back in Falkirk.

The footage was made available to Shire by USA-based fan Tom Scott a number of years ago but has lain unseen since. The 1965 footage is part of a specially-commissioned, and professionally-made, film detailing the events surrounding the first game back after the court judgement. It was a League Cup-tie against Alloa Athletic played on 18th August 1965. The film shows a special celebration dinner and a march of fans through the streets from Bainsford to Firs Park before detailing some of the match action. Shire won 1-0 but, unfortunately, the cameras missed the only goal.

The other videos given to the club come from the 1974/75 season, which began with the then 32 year-old Alex Ferguson being appointed manager. He spent a total of just 17 weeks as Shire boss before being attracted by the prospect of managing St. Mirren, a club he saw as having more potential.

The Super-8 films, which don’t have any sound, were taken by club secretary, Bob Shaw, who preceded Ferguson as team manager. There are seven different games included in the archive, the earliest of which we have a positive date for is a game at Forfar Athletic on 26th October 1974, which was the first game Shire played after Ferguson departed for St. Mirren. This, then, is the first post-Fergie Shire line-up taking the field at Station Park.

The footage of the games isn’t Match of the Day, or even ShireTV, in that it doesn’t tell the story of the games. It’s more like old-fashioned newsreels. The Forfar one, though, does include a Shire goal in a 3-2 win.

There are more games from later in the season the first of which was on 1st February 1975 against Falkirk at Brockville. Sadly, Shire lost 6-1. Just as well the film doesn’t include any of the goals, then.

Shire enjoyed a good Scottish Cup run that season. The team beat Stenhousemuir in the first round and St. Mirren, managed by Alex Ferguson, in the second. In the third they travelled to Arbroath but lost 1-0. Bob Shaw took his camera along.

There are two trips to Fife included. a 1-1 draw at Cowdenbeath in February 1975 and another 1-1 draw at Raith Rovers in March. It’s interesting as a piece of social history to see how much the grounds have changed in 41 years, especially Stark’s Park.

There are more away games than home games, but there is footage of old Firs Park, including the Firs Park Social Club, in this sequence from a match against Hamilton Academical on February 8th 1975.

Finally, there is a mystery. A game we couldn’t identify a date or a set of opponents for. Some detective work leads us to believe the opponents are Cowdenbeath. The film shows Shire physio Rikki McFarlane in the dug out. If the opponents are Cowdenbeath at Firs Park, if Rikki McFarlane is there and if it’s 1974/75 season then the date would be 21st September 1974. Which would make the film below the only one we know of East Stirlingshire playing while Sir Alex Ferguson was managing the team. But we can’t confirm that.

Whatever the provenance of the last video, these are important historical records for the club and we are pleased at last to have given everyone the chance to see them.


Coach Waits on Jamie’s Fitness

Coach John Sludden will give winger Jamie Glasgow every chance to be available for Saturday’s Lowland League match against Gretna 2008 at Ochilview.

Jamie limped out of last weekend’s defeat at Spartans after just 20 minutes with a hamstring problem, depriving the team of the game’s most influential player until that point.

He sat out Tuesday training at Little Kerse and will continue to receive treatment in the hope that he will be ready to go for the club’s latest game.

John is remaining optimistic about Jamie being ready to play.

FH East Stirlingshire v Stirling University 21/09/2016

“It was disappointing,” he said of the player’s injury and early withdrawal from the last game. “Jamie’s a good outlet for us and an important player in terms of what we do in the final third of the pitch. It upset us in terms of going forward on Saturday.

“Hopefully he will respond to treatment over the next 48 hours,” said the coach. “We don’t think it’s a pull and we are hoping it’s just a bit of tightness of the hamstring. But we’ll wait 48 hours and we’ll know better then.”

He says the player was disappointed himself to have picked up the injury and is keen to get back playing as quickly as possible.

“If you know what Jamie’s like then you know that he’ll do everything possible to make himself available,” said the Shire coach. “But what we won’t do is risk it if it will be better to have him sitting it out for out for a week. We don’t want him taking a chance and then being out for four weeks.”

Jamie has been in top form for Shire this season scoring six times in the league already. In his last full outing, against Stirling University, he scored one and created another in a 4-1 win.

“He’s been so important to us this season, creating goals and scoring goals,” said John. “We’ll sit down with Jamie and we will see what the best option is.”

One player who will be back for the Gretna 2008 game is Drew Ramsay. The Shire left-back was absent for the Spartans game due to a wedding. However, he will be added to the squad this weekend.

“Drew will be back,” said the coach. “He has done very well for us and has given us a better balance on the left-hand side and he always gives us a wee extra option going forward.”

Saturday’s Visitors – Gretna 2008 FC

It will be another first for Shire on Saturday when our latest Lowland League match brings Gretna 2008 FC to Ochilview for the first-ever meeting of the teams.

Of course it won’t be the first time Shire will have faced a team from the Dumfresshire town; we met the original Gretna FC over the course of three seasons between its entry into the league in 2002 until it won promotion out of the SFL Third Division in 2005.

In those three years Shire managed just one victory against them and and on their travels to Raydale Park only ever came away with a draw; 2-2 on their first-ever visit  when a last-minute goal from Jamie Dunbar secured a share of the points.


Photo shows Shire in action against Gretna FC at Raydale Park in 2004/05 season.

The current Gretna 2008 FC  are not directly connected to the old club. It was formed after the original entered liquidation by its Supporters Trust in 2008 (hence the name) to keep football alive in the town. Gretna 2008 joined the East of Scotland League the following season and 2013 they were granted entry into the original Lowland League finishing third in 2014/15, although last term they were tenth.

This season they have shown much better form on the road than at Raydale Park and last week travelled north to beat Deveronvale 3-0 in the Scottish Cup, a result which snapped a losing streak for them.


The current Gretna 2008 team has strong links to SPFL Championship Queen of the South in nearby Dumfries. They have in their squad four players on loan from the Palmerston club (goalie Jack Leighfield, defenders Richard Murray and Jack Brannan, and striker Connor Murray) who are all young and keen to make their way into the top level of Scottish football.

In addition Gretna 2008 keeper Danny Armstrong is employed by Queen of the South as a Community Development coach.


They certainly seem to prefer life on the road, having recorded wins away at Cumbernauld Colts, Hawick Royal Albert and Edinburgh University in the league already this season and Shire will have to be at our best to preserve our unbeaten home league record.

Kids Charity Wins Challenge

A charity which helps make the dreams of children with life threatening illnesses come true is the latest good cause to benefit from Shire’s Charity Challenge scheme this season.

When You Wish Upon A Star Scotland was nominated to benefit by young Shire season ticket holder, Jay Daly, and his mum, Tracey.

A cheque for £500.00 will be heading the charity’s way after the latest skills challenge which took place during half-time at last week’s game against Stirling University.

Shire striker Paul Sludden along with fans Gary English and Cameron Fleming took part in trying to fire a ball through a specially-constructed target in the goals.

Thanks are due to everyone who took part in this latest event.

When You Wish Upon A Star Scotland is the second charity to benefit through the scheme. Already the club has donated cash to Strathcarron Hospice as part of the scheme.

Make Saturday Your Shireday

The team starts its build-up for Saturday’s return to Lowland League action when the coaches and players return to training at Little Kerse on Tuesday evening.

There will be a chance to work on things and assess any injuries and knocks after last weekend’s disappointing late defeat against Spartans in Edinburgh. Of prime concern to coach John Sludden will be the fitness of Jamie Glasgow, who limped out of the Spartans game after just 20 minutes and whose presence was sorely missed.

The team will now focus its attentions on this weekend’s opponents, Gretna 2008, who should be in confident mood after they won 3-0 away at Highland League Deveronvale in the Scottish Cup on Saturday.

We really do need your support at Ochilview this weekend. It’s so important to everyone that as many Shire fans as possible turn up to back the team.

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

Hopefully, the team will be able to get back to winning ways and plenty of encouragement for the stand will help. The coaches and players are staying positive and it’s good to see fans who are aiming high as well.


It’s this kind of attitude that will take us to where we want to go.

Shire Draw Annan Athletic In Cup

Shire have drawn an away tie against Ladbrokes League 2 side Annan Athletic in the Second Round of the 2016/17 William Hill Scottish Cup.

The game is scheduled to go ahead at Galabank on Saturday 22nd October. Dates for a replay and any reserve date in case of postponement will be announced later along with admission price details.

The draw was made in Aberdeen earlier and was streamed live on Facebook. Shire didn’t have long to wait to find out their opponents; the tie was the first one drawn with the results announced on Twitter.


It will be the first-ever Scottish Cup meeting of the teams and it’s the first time Shire have drawn League 2 opposition at this stage of the competition since 2009/10 season when we travelled to Forfar Athletic in a game Jim McInally’s team lost 4-2.

But, of course it won’t be the first time Shire have played Annan Athletic. The team’s last visit to Galabank was in April of this year in a League 2 encounter which Shire won 3-1 thanks to these second half goals from Kris Faulds and Gavin McMillan, who, of course, are still at the club.

And it won’t even be the first time Shire have played Annan Athletic this season. They were drawn together in Group F of the 2016/17 Betfred Cup along with Motherwell, Rangers and Stranraer.

The match was the final one in the competition for both and effectively a dead rubber as neither could by that point progress in the competition. After a goalless first period Annan Athletic substitute Ryan Finnie broke the deadlock and former Shire man Max Wright secured a 2-0 win for Annan Athletic with a penalty in the final minute.

The only cup-tie the two teams have played at Galabank was in the Second Round of the ALBA Challenge Cup in 2009/10 season when an injury-time Peter Watson goal gave the home team a narrow 1-0 victory.

Overall, since Annan Athletic joined the Scottish Football League in 2008/09 season there have been 34 meetings with Annan ahead 19 wins to 11 with the other four games drawn.

The Second Round of this season’s Scottish Cup will feature a total of sixteen ties with the winners advancing to a Third Round where they will be joined by all ten League 1 clubs and six teams from the SPFL Championship.

This is how the Second Round draw looks in full.


Scottish Cup Second Round Draw

Shire will go into the hat for the second round of this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup, which will be made in Aberdeen later today.

There will be 16 ties to be made in the draw which starts at 6pm tonight and will be streamed live on the Scottish Cup’s Facebook page.

We will be joined in the draw by the 18 first round winners, subject to replays, Spartans, Cove Rangers, Formartine United and this season’s SPFL League Two Clubs.

The ties are due to be played on Saturday 22nd October, however, if Shire are drawn at home our game will have to be moved to an alternative date as Stenhousemuir host Brechin City at Ochilview in a League 1 game that day.

The list of teams in tonight’s second round draw is :

Annan Athletic


Banks O’Dee

Beith Juniors

Berwick Rangers

Brora Rangers

BSC Glasgow

Buckie Thistle

Civil Service Strollers or Hawick Royal Albert


Cove Rangers


East Kilbride

East Stirlingshire

Edinburgh City

Elgin City

Forfar Athletic

Formatine United

Forres Mechanics or Lossiemouth

Gala Fairydean Rovers

Gretna 2008


Leith Athletic or Cumbernauld Colts

Linlithgow Rose


Preston Athletic

Stirling Albion

Stirling University


Turriff United or Bonnyrigg Rose

Whitehill Welfare

Wick Academy