Glasgow set to hand Shire selection boost

22-07-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. STENHOUSEMUIR. Ochilview. Betfred Cup group stage. East Stirlingshire v Rangers. Left, John Sludden.
22-07-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. STENHOUSEMUIR. Ochilview. Betfred Cup group stage. East Stirlingshire v Rangers. Left, John Sludden.

Striker Jamie Glasgow could return to the East Stirlingshire line-up as the club makes its Lowland League debut on Saturday against Vale of Leithen at Ochilview.

The front man had been in a rich vein of scoring form in the early part of Shire’s pre-season, scoring four goals in as many matches.

But his run came to an abrupt end when Glasgow picked up an injury in the 3-1 Betfred Cup defeat against Stranraer in which he scored the only goal. He scratched late from the team which was due to face Rangers after pulling up in the warm-up and hasn’t featured since, a run of four games in which Shire have failed to find the back of the net at all.

Now he’ll be put through his paces at training on Thursday with a view to finding out if he can take some part in Saturday’s game.

“Hopefully he will come through a training session on Thursday,” said coach John Sludden who would clearly relish a return for his top finisher.

Despite the disappointing displays against Annan Athletic and Montrose over the past week, Sludden says this weekend’s game is an occasion to savour. He has maintained from the outset that the real test of his team was not going to be the early season cup-ties but the league campaign.

“It’s an exciting challenge,” he said. “We have brought in a new squad of players and everyone has to approach it with the same mentality; that we have to do everything we can to get ourselves back into the (Scottish) league.

“At least we had the opportunity to play against teams from the level that we want to get to and that has given us an idea of how far we need to go to get there.”

For the most part the Lowland League will be a step into the unknown for Shire. Saturday’s opponents, Vale of Leithen, are one of a number of clubs they have encountered in Scottish Cup-ties in years gone by, but Saturday’s game will be the first meeting of the clubs in more than 20 years.

Sludden is not leaving anything to chance. “We’ve had them watched, which is something we do with every team we play. The most important thing is that we take the game to them because we need to get our league campaign up and running. The most important thing all along has been Saturday’s league game.”

Vale of Leithen are not expected to be among the teams challenging for the title. They have never finished higher than halfway and last season were third from bottom. Nevertheless, Sludden would have liked to have gone into it with some momentum. We hoped to do better against Annan and Montrose,” he said. “But a win on Saturday might kick-start it for us.”