Defeat hasn’t Kil’d off early Shire optimism

Andy Rodgers is backing his East Stirlingshire team mates to bounce back from last weekend’s setback against Lowland League leaders East Kilbride when they face Cumbernauld Colts at Ochilview on Saturday.

Rodgers finalised a one year deal with Shire in the run-up to the K Park clash against the title favourites but couldn’t make his return to the club he left in 2010 a winning one as Shire went down to Sean Winter’s third minute goal.

Nevertheless, the striker believes it’s far too early in the season to read much significance into the outcome of a single game, and he says how they respond this week against the Broadwood-based outfit will mark Shire out.

“We were disappointed,” he said of Saturday’s narrow 1-0 defeat. “But good teams respond and bounce back and that’s what we aim to do. We need to kick on taking one game at a time.”

And that process starts this weekend. Cumbernauld Colts will be no pushover, though. Former Dunipace Juniors managerial duo, Craig McKinlay and James Orr have steered them into second place behind East Kilbride with a run of six straight victories and they will be full of confidence.

Shire’s title ambitions took a dent with their first defeat. Even though they have two games in hand, even if Shire win both they will still be five points behind the only side with a 100% record so far. Rodgers says that there’s too much football still to be played for any die to be cast. “We know it’s going to be difficult but there are still plenty of games to go,” he said. “Nothing’s been decided yet. Although East Kilbride have started well teams are all capable of taking points off each other, and sides that aren’t expected to do well are getting results at teams that are. Spartans didn’t win at Civil Service so it’s not all over and there are points for East Kilbride to drop, that’s for sure.”

But for Shire to keep up with the top sides they are going to have to get results against them, which makes Saturday’s match vital as will the trip to Spartans in two weeks time.

What will give John Sludden’s men hope was the knowledge that, despite a slow start, they more than matched East Kilbride and ought to have taken something from the game.