Making sense of East Stirlingshire’s match report from their opening match of pre-season typifies the trials and tribulations of this time of year.
Not so much the report, just the delivery, and the details of the main protagonists.
Trialist scored, there were set-ups by trialist and there were another eight men of the same name and description involved at Grangemouth Stadium on Saturday.
Shire by the way, lost 2-1 to a team of Partick Thistle’s under-20s development league side, who too included several trialists.
The case was not helped by the many substitutions Shire boss Craig Tully made switching trialist for trialist, but as assistant boss George Shaw said: “It’s about the gelling together of the new players and not so much about the result.”
A win would have been nice though but against their full-time opponents Shire were given a decent run-out.
“You don’t want easy pre-season games,” added Shaw, “this is where you learn and challenge yourself so you weant a challenge to prepare you for the games when the season start properly with the first competitive game.
“Partick have good young players and are full time and it was a a good test of our fitness.”
The first half ended in a stalemate but who else, but a trialist gave the hosts the lead after 15 minutes.
Thistle levelled through Dominic McLaren and then won the match with Dominic Doherty’s header in the second half.
Shire went close late on with one of the uncontracted players hitting the post and David McKenna also having a n effort blocked from testing the goalkeeper.
Youth player Michael Wallace’s cross was watched into the box by the Partick defence, and not cleared which allowed the Shire trialist - the fourth on the teamsheet - to score.
Shire could have doubled their lead soon after when Chris Townsley headed over from Max Wright’s corner. Wright then tried his luck from long range and his effort went narrowly wide of the right post.
McLaren rammed in an equaliser for the Jags before the confusion over the trialists intensified and Craig Tully made EIGHT changes at the break.
One of the substitutes was a goalkeeper and he was lifting the ball from the net after Dom Doherty’s header beat him for the winner.
Lloyd Kinnaird was also involved for Shire and their late efforts to salvage a draw from the first exertions of the season were in vain as Thistle held on for the victory at Grangemouth, but Craig Tully has plenty more opportunities to identify his needs before the Petrofac Cup match with Stenhousemuir on July 25.