Anger management is key to Shire’s return to league

Shire lost out to Annan last week
Shire lost out to Annan last week

East Stirlingshire players are being told to channel the frustration they felt at the manner of their Scottish Cup exit last week into closing the gap on Lowland League leaders East Kilbride.

Coach John Sludden says the anger at refereeing decisions which Shire claim cost them a cup replay victory over Annan Athletic has been slow to subside.

However, he reckons the players could use that sense of injustice to power them to victory over Dalbeattie Star at Ochilview this weekend.

“We were really disappointed,” said Sludden. “We have spoken about it at great length and there was a lot of anger there. But hopefully we get that out of the system with a better result on Saturday.”

Not surprisingly, the Shire boss was keen not to dwell on their cup disappointment, even though the players are still upset at being denied what they thought were two penalties.

They also maintain referee Alan Newlands should have awarded a free-kick for a foul on Andy Rodgers in the build-up to Annan’s game winner.

“It will be a very important game for us on Saturday and it will be a good game for us to bounce back,” said Sludden. “We need to get back to winning ways and I think we can take a lot of positives out of the two games against Annan.

“There were positives in terms of individual performances and as a team. We bossed both games for long spells, we created good chances and we limited them to only a few chances as well.”

Dalbeattie Star sit one place higher than Shire in the league table and victory over them would see Shire move back into at least third place. They could potentially go into second were Spartans to fail to win, which would be a high point for the club this season.

Were that to happen, Sludden feels, his side would be in a far better position to put pressure on the runaway leaders who have won every one of their league matches so far.

“What East Kilbride have done is fantastic,” he said. “It’s a great achievement to win so many games in a row. But the incentive for us is to try to get as close to them as possible.”