Liam Allison says his fellow East Stirlingshire defenders are more than happy to listen to the strikers dressing room chat about how many hat-tricks they’ve scored.
The Shire back line may not be grabbing the headlines but there’s no doubt the left-back is loving being involved in the team’s amazing current run.
The ten goals John Sludden’s men struck against their demoralised opponents at Netherdale created a new Lowland League record away win.
David Grant’s personal tally of four means Shire players have now scored hat-tricks in each of the last four games. In their last five matches the team has hit 32 goals.
Allison says if that continues the Shire defence will be content to stay out of the limelight.
“You can hardly complain at the back when the team scores eight, nine and ten goals every week,” he said. “We are quite happy to be out there with not much to do and although we were disappointed to lose a goal it was a solid performance all round.”
But the Shire rearguard isn’t exactly standing around doing nothing in games other than admiring the skills of Andy Rodgers and the scoring prowess of David Grant.
The number of times a Shire goal on Saturday started with a clearance from keeper Jamie Barclay or a pass from one of the four defenders in font of him showed this was a complete team performance.
“That’s the way we like to play,” said Allison. “We like to build from the back, move the ball on to the forwards and let them do their bit. And today ten goals was the result.”
The result of the match was never in any doubt after a blistering Shire start. However, the start of the match itself very much was in doubt as heavy fog enveloped Netherdale and although the referee started the game the fans had very little idea of the early action.
They reacted more to the shouts of the players than their own eyesight as Rodgers gave Shire the lead after seven minutes, shooting home after Kris Faulds’ early ball into the box was only half-cleared.
By midway through the first half Shire were 5-0 up. Allison says the mindset of the team is to go for the opposition right from the start.
“That’s been the intention for the last few weeks,” he said. “You could see that from the first half hour of games over the last four or five weeks, especially at home. It kills other teams and their heads go down straight away and we can build on that.”
Shire certainly took full advantage after Rodgers’ opening goal. After 11 minutes Gala full-back Ross Aitchison tugged David Grant’s jersey inside the box and Rodgers made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.
Seven minutes later the game was effectively over as a contest when Derek Ure flighted a corner to the back post for Connor Greene to head goalwards and just over the line despite a valiant attempt to stop it crossing.
The home team’s morale had taken a battering and it showed when David Grant took advantage of some non-existent penalty box marking to slot home Rodgers’ cross for the fourth goal on 21 minutes.
Three minutes later Grant’s pass and Rodgers’ clever dummy set up Jamie Glasgow to race in on goal for the fifth.
After 53 minutes David Grant beat the offside to score from a tight angle after rounding the keeper and just a minute later Paul Sludden made it 7-0 after firing home the rebound as the home keeper saved from Rodgers.
But the Gala’s Stuart Noble reduced the leeway with a nice finish not long after. Grant got his fourth with a simple back post finish at a corner on 72 minutes and ten minutes from the end substitute Dylan McGuigan completed the rout with a header from Drew Ramsay’s cross.
SHIRE : Barclay, A.Grant, Allison (Ramsay 55), Oliver, Greene, Faulds, Rodgers, Ure (MacGregor 71), D. Grant, Sludden, Glasgow (McGuigan 66).