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    Allan Maitland Previews Stirling Albion derby 

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 3:21:26 AM

    Tonight we welcome our near neighbours Stirling Albion to the “Recs” for the latest instalment in the four way battle to win the Second Division. Allan Moore is a good friend of mine and I know he feels his side are very much in contention after winning their last two games against Peterhead and East Fife. The games in hand for Brechin, Cowdenbeath and Stirling Albion make it so difficult to predict how the league will develop but there is no doubt that we have managed to put pressure on them by winning our games. Our victory on Saturday was quite incredible – having won at Stirling and drawn at Cowdenbeath the injury situation finally seemed to have been a step too far for this game as Stenhousemuir dominated and should have been more than 1 goal ahead going into the final minutes despite being down to 10 men. However the spirit of the team was fantastic and they kept pressing to the end and scored when Chris McCluskey dropped a cross by young Jason Thomson and David Gormley pounced to equalise. Other sides may have settled for the point but a minute later Bryan Prunty scored with a superb strike from a difficult angle and suddenly out of the blue, a day of apparent disappointment ended with scenes of elation. There is no doubt that we will need to play much better if we hope to win the league but there is no questioning the determination of this group of players.
    Tonight I expect to have Andy Scott back from suspension and hope that Brown Ferguson or David McClune will be fit enough to start the game. Scot Buist did well to last the 90 minutes on Saturday and we will assess him before tonight’s match along with Brown Ferguson and Mark Brown who picked up knocks on Saturday. The biggest plus from Saturday was the return of Dougie Wilson who played for the first time in over 12 months and I’m sure he was apprehensive when asked to start the second half in place of “Bomber”, however he managed to get on the ball and appeared to get stronger as the game went on. The performances of Jason Thomson and Jamie Hay were also hugely instrumental in us winning the match and their energy in getting the ball back forced Stenhousemuir to play much deeper than they would liked in the final minutes.
    Stirling’s team has changed a lot since Christmas with Chris Aitken signing from Ayr United and Stuart Elliot, Jonathan Page and Brian Allison all arriving on loan. These changes show just how much Stirling want to win this league and they will be in there fighting to the very end. Some people will rightly say that there are too many midweek games for them but when you have something to fight for and you have the confidence of winning games then life becomes so much easier.
    We travel to Arbroath on Saturday and after that I expect to see the injuries clearing up in time for our visit to East Fife – we are in the middle of a crucial stage of the season and will need all our players back as soon as possible.
    Finally I would like to congratulate Ewen Cameron who was on official duty on Sunday afternoon at the Co -operative Insurance Cup Final and presented the cup and medals at the end of the match. Well done Ewen, I hope the speech went down well.
    Allan Maitland
    Team Manager


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