He’s willing to admit he’s happy to play anywhere in the team, but Graeme MacGregor appeared to be everywhere on the pitch on Saturday as East Stirlingshire recorded a fifth successive home Lowland League win, against BSC Glasgow at Ochilview.
The former Falkirk midfielder was the game’s most eye-catching performer; and although he was nominally playing at right-back he was just as likely to pop up on the right wing or in central midfield.
He defended his corner, he started the move which saw Shire take a 2-0 advantage and he even surged forward from midfield to try his luck at scoring his first goal in four years with a couple of long-range efforts.
MacGregor, who has struggled to find a starting berth at three different clubs over the last 18 months, at last looked like he was enjoying himself.
“I’m happy just to be playing football every week,” he said. “I just love playing football and if I’m playing right-back or I’m playing in the middle of the park then I’m happy to feel as though I’m contributing to the side.
“I’ve played right-back a lot before, as well as central midfield, and wherever I’m asked to play, then I’ll play there.”
Before he could have the chance to do anything else, the Shire man had to concentrate on his defensive duties. John Sludden’s did not make the most convincing of starts to the game and their opponents were not simply there to make up the numbers.
BSC Glasgow tried to seize the initiative and it was down to the Shire back line to keep the team in the game. They did that with some comfort; this is a different defence in mentality if not in personnel to the one which lost seven goals in a match at Selkirk a month ago.
Since then they have played four games and conceded just two goals and this was their second consecutive shut out.
“I think the game at Selkirk was a bit of a freak,” said MacGregor. “I don’t think anything like that will ever happen again. We were just sloppy all over the park and it cost us. But since then we’ve tried to concentrate on every moment in every game and it has started to work for us.”
The defensive unit did its job against BSC when the visitors enjoyed the bulk of possession in the opening quarter. They stopped the visitors getting too close to keeper Jamie Barclay, prevented crosses from the wings and limited the number of shots at goal.
Shire looked disjointed going forward in the early stages but they proved they still knew the way to goal. After 18 minutes some slick passing allowed David Grant to release Kris Faulds and he scored with a fine finish from inside the box.
It was their one highlight of the opening 45 minutes. At the start of the second MacGregor and the defence faced a test from a corner which produced Connor Greene’s headed goal line clearance. Jamie Barclay made two great saves.
But, after 52 minutes, MacGregor’s speed of through caught BSC in possession, he fed the ball to Andy Rodgers who exchanged passes with Paul Sludden on the edge of the box before shooting home with a first-time half-volley.
“I just collected the ball and let Paul and Andy do the rest,” said MacGregor of his part in the second Shire goal. “We’re now starting to build up a head of steam. We’re working hard at training and it’s gone well over the last couple of weeks and we just need to hope that can continue.”
The second goal decided the outcome of the match, Shire relaxed a bit and did their best to do a bit of crowd-pleasing. They had other chances, visiting keeper Jamie Wilton had to be on top form, David Grant hit the post and MacGregor, sensing a moment of glory, fired one over the bar from 20 yards.
There was just one more goal. After 77 minutes David Grant had his jersey tugged inside the box and although Wilton saved Rodgers’ penalty kick, the keeper parried the ball back to him and the Shire man made no mistake from the rebound.
SHIRE : Barclay, MacGregor, Ramsay, A. Grant, Greene, White (Murray 76), Rodgers, Ure, D. Grant, Sludden (McGuigan 76), Faulds (Peddie 83).