Final three gauntlet laid down for Shire

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East Stirlingshire’s players have been set the task of winning their final three games of the season by coach Craig Tully.

The Shire gaffer admits last weekend’s defeat against bottom side Montrose has made achieving a fourth place finish, and with it a shot at the promotion play-offs, difficult to reach. But he says there’s nothing to stop them ending the campaign with a flourish.

Tully was in philosophical mood this week following the disappointment of Saturday; there was no finger pointing or blame game and his response to defeat was measured and calm.

“I actually felt sorry for the players,” he said. “We had worked so hard to get into the position and if we had won then we would still have been in with a shout.

“But on the day too many players simply had an off day. You can maybe succeed with one or two below par performances but we had too many players who were off the boil. That happens sometimes,” said Tully.

Few would argue Shire have made significant steps to becoming a competitive side in League Two but failure to pick up points over the final three matches risks compromising that feelgood factor.

There is still a chance they could slip from the verge of the promotion play-offs and end up in a position worse than last season’s eighth, although they have won more matches than last term and have three games left to find three points that would give them a higher points tally.

For that reason alone Tully is determined his players find their form again and leave the disappointment of last weekend behind them.

“Although we lost last week we are still on a good run,” he said. “We have only lost three of our last 12 games. Every team has its bad days, and we certainly had ours against Montrose, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pick up from where we were before last Saturday.”

When Berwick Rangers come to Ochilview a win is vital if Shire want to keep their visitors below them in the league table, however not only have they failed to take a point from Berwick in three games so far, they haven’t even managed to score against them in any of those games.

“We have played poorly against Berwick this season,” said the Shire coach. “However, the players know what they are capable of and there is no reason why they can’t win this game.

“I would like to think we are capable of winning our final three games of the season. It would mean we would finish as high as we can.”