Midfield lynch-pin signs Shire extension

East Stirlingshire v Queens Park.''Neil McCabe in action''11-10-2014 Picture Alan Rennie.
East Stirlingshire v Queens Park.''Neil McCabe in action''11-10-2014 Picture Alan Rennie.

East Stirlingshire were given a major boost for next season when star midfielder Neil McCabe put pen to a new two-year deal this week.

The 24-year-old former Forfar Athletic man has been in outstanding form for Craig Tully’s team and is one of the main reasons why Shire have gone from pyramid play-off candidates to the outer fringes of the promotion race.

Shire boss Craig Tully is delighted to have tied down one of his major players for the new campaign and is hoping to persuade more of his squad to stay on for at least another year.

“Neil has been one of our best players this season and we made it a priority to make sure he stayed for next season,” said Tully. “In the end, he was happy to sign which is good news because we have already got a key component in place, but also because it shows just how much he has enjoyed it here.”

McCabe was plucked from junior football by the Station Park club in the summer of 2013 but failed to hold down a regular slot and was released after just one season. Tully, after being appointed Shire’s head coach, was quick to offer the player another chance at the senior game.

“He is the kind of player every team needs to function properly,” he said. “He wins the ball back quickly if you lose it and then can get your attack going with a well-chosen pass. Neil has been one of our star performers and we are looking forward to him kicking on next season,” he said.

With Shire now starting to put together a really impressive run of form, Tully wants to get some of his other big performers on new contracts to give him a head start for their preparations for the new campaign.

Talks have begun with a number of this season’s squad as the club’s coaching staff start to gauge their mood.

“We have the makings of a really good team,” said the Shire boss. “And, to be honest, we would like to try and keep that nucleus together for another season if we can. We will be looking at bringing some new players in but we don’t see the need to make a lot of changes in personnel because we think a lot of the guys we already have here can help us get better.”

One area Tully has already stated he wants to exploit again is signing young players on loan from the top full-time clubs. There is little doubt that the arrival of Celtic’s Luke Donnelly and scoring sensation Kevin Nisbet from Partick Thistle, who has hit five in seven matches, have been key to Shire’s recent revival.

Tully should have no injury or suspension worries for Saturday’s trip to Elgin.