Craig Tully’s chances of putting East Stirlingshire back on track after three straight defeats have been dealt another blow with a one game ban for key defender Reece Donaldson.
The centre-half was given his marching orders during Shire’s 5-1 defeat at the hands of Queen’s Park last weekend, which means he’ll have to sit out Saturday’s trip to Montrose.
It further limits Tully’s options with key men Chris Townsley, Neil McCabe, Ross Gilmour and Michael Wallace all sidelined by injury. Shire’s selection problems have already forced the head coach to promote some of his young development squad into the first team. 19 year-old Adam Murray was the latest to make his debut which came at Hampden.
But it is not the best way to halt a slide in form which has seen Shire slip to second bottom of the league table. Tully could have done without Donaldson’s absence for the Links Park game but was in no doubt that the former Peterhead defender has no-one but himself to blame.
“It was just down to his own indiscipline that he got himself sent-off,” he said.
“There was no need to give the referee the opportunity to hand out a second yellow card and he has to learn when to make challenges and when not to go diving in.”
Tully also revealed that his frustration with Donaldson had been added to by the fact that he had already spoken to the player about the number of yellow cards he had collected prior to last Saturday’s match.
“We had already told him he needed to be careful as he was headed for a suspension just by the number of times he was being booked,” said the Shire coach. “Hopefully, though, he will learn that it’s much better to be playing each week than sitting in the stand watching.”
It’s unlikely Shire will have any of their injured players back for the Montrose trip with McCabe reckoned to be the closest to making a comeback. It may again mean having to rely on some young stand-ins.
“We let ourselves down badly against Queen’s Park,” said Tully. “It’s the only game this season where I felt we just didn’t show up. Even though we have lost other games, I still felt there wasn’t the kind of gap that there was on Saturday.
“Some guys are just going to have to show some form and try to show a bit of leadership. We have a lot of players missing right now, but even so I still believe the players who are fit and available have what it takes.”