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    Allan Maitland previews East Fife game 

    Friday, February 20, 2009 2:42:38 PM

    Today we welcome David Baikie, his coaches, the player’s, directors and supporters of East Fife Football Club to the “Recs” for a game that we will both be very keen to win. Our form since the turn of the year has been decent, although as I’ve said before, I believe that we were unfortunate not to pick up more than two points in the games against Peterhead, Raith Rovers and Arbroath, which resulted in us dropping to second bottom of the league. However we’ve managed to change that with excellent wins in the last 2 weeks that has seen us move past both Arbroath and Queens Park. The first 45 minutes of the match against Ayr were perhaps the best attacking performance we’ve produced this season with Brian Carrigan and Stuart Noble involved in everything we did. Leading 2 -0 at half time was a fair reflection of the game but not enough to kill off our opponents and they scored twice to draw level late in the second half. Our desire to win the game got us into a position where we had 3 players running into their box with only minutes left and Stuart Noble was pulled down for a penalty, which “Carrots” converted. It would have been easy for the players to feel deflated having lost the two goals but they have a lot more about them than we showed earlier in the season and they did superbly well to dig out the victory. This belief was confirmed last Saturday when we finally secured our first away victory of the season when Stuart scored a late winner at Hampden. While the game wasn’t the best of the season it was memorable for many reasons:- 1). Greig Spence started his first game for the club and scored his first competitive goal to get us level just after the break. I have been delighted with Greig’s progress this season in the under 17’s and have brought him into the first team squad to gain the experience of training and playing at the tougher and faster level. He has developed so well that he has thoroughly merited his opportunity in the first team. 2). Obviously our first away win this season, which was reason enough to celebrate and I was pleased that we had so many supporters there to see it. I’m sorry for those who left early and missed our late goal but they also missed Jinky keeping control of the ball for the final minutes to ensure that we didn’t lose a late equaliser. 3). Stuart Noble also scored his first goal for Alloa. Stuart has been excellent and the only thing missing from his game has been a goal. I hope that his fantastic strike will be the start of a run of goals that his play deserves.
    With Brian Carrigan, Stuart Noble, Andy Scott, Kyle MacAulay, Greig Spence and Dougie Wilson all playing well I believe that we are better placed now in terms of strikers than at any other time this season. While our injuries are clearing up I’m disappointed that both Dougie Hill and Iain Campbell are suspended for today’s game when they’ve been playing so well but know that the players waiting on the sidelines will be desperate to take their place. With our youth teams doing so well, I have decided to include Mark Ferguson, Stevie Barker and Hugh Kerr in our training sessions and first team squad until the end of the season to give them the same opportunity as Greig Spence has had.
    Our opponents today will be looking to get over the disappointment of their Scottish Cup exit at Aberdeen on Tuesday night when the early dismissal of their keeper made a difficult task almost impossible. I heard David Baikie speaking after the game expressing his dismay at the defending in the first half when they lost three goals and he felt that certain players froze on the night. The experience of the game will be a great learning curve for the players and will hold them in good stead for the future.
    I hope you all enjoy today’s game and wish to thank you for your continued support.
    Allan Maitland

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