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    Allan Maitland previews Derby game 

    Friday, November 12, 2010 9:48:07 AM

    Today we offer a warm welcome to our near neighbours from Stenhousemuir who have made the short journey over the bridge for today’s game. I think it’s fair to say that both sides have yet to achieve the heights they’d like and expect after experiencing so many changes in personnel over the summer. I know that John and Matt will have seen signs this season that will have given them real encouragement but as always with part time teams, it’s achieving that level on a consistent basis that makes the difference.
    The introduction of Grant Anderson and Stevie Murray has given John’s side great width and a threat from these areas that perhaps wasn’t evident last season and when these two play well then “Stenny” are a real handful, especially with Ross Clark also providing supporting runs from the middle of the park. Their draw with Brechin last week shows they are more than capable of competing with the sides at the top end of the league and we know we will have to show a marked improvement on last week’s showing if we expect to win today.
    My complaint this season has been the number of goals we have been losing despite having quality players and goalkeepers in the squad and yet again individual errors cost us dearly last week at East Fife. I made changes to the team last week with Jamie Ewings playing in goal and Mark Brown being moved into the centre of the park but we didn’t start the game well and went behind to an excellent Bobby Linn strike from 30 yards. We worked at half time at changing our approach and immediately got back into the game through Scott Walker and had the upper hand when we allowed East Fife to attack unchallenged before Steven Hyslop scored when unmarked in the box. Individual errors led to 2 more goals as we chased the game and completed what was a totally miserable day. As a team we need to ensure that last Saturday becomes the lowest point of our season and we improve quickly. The consistency that I spoke of earlier has not been shown for a full 90 minutes or from game to game and that needs to change if we have any aspirations this season. Having said that I believe we have an excellent group of players available and they are more than capable of putting a run of results together. The return of Stuart Noble will be a huge boost to our striking options and I expect him to be fit for today’s match although he will no doubt take time to get match fit again having missed so much of the season already through injury. We now need to start the season all over again and look to push up the league as quick as possible.
    Finally I wish to make comment on the criticism of match officials that is being highlighted by the media, managers and players every week – I believe that the officials are an easy target for everyone to deflect their own failings and without them there would be no game. The more abuse that is being thrown at them the less chance we have of encouraging others to step forward to become referees. Having said that they must be able to meet certain standards of efficiency and be of undoubted repute in terms of honesty and demeanour – they should be given the respect their position deserves and we should start to focus much more on the game than the officials. No doubt that means I will be unhappy with decisions today but hopefully with a bit of dignity!!
    I hope you all enjoy today’s game.
    Allan Maitland
    Team Manager


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