New coach is urgent to sign up improved Shire stars

John Coughlin will leave East Stirlingshire at the end of the season
John Coughlin will leave East Stirlingshire at the end of the season

East Stirlingshire will tonight (Thursday) start the process of appointing a successor to John Coughlin as head coach.

Directors are due to meet to sift through the applications of candidates who thrown their hats into the ring over the last ten days.

It is expected that the Shire board will make a quick decision and could even have someone in place by Tuesday.

The process follows Coughlin’s surprise decision to quit despite the offer of a fresh one- year contract from the club, which has brought to an end his three-year tenure.

Shire officials say the list of candidates to replace Coughlin is a quality one and selecting a new chief will be a difficult process.

“There are some excellent people out there and we are sure that we can find an able head coach from the people who have so far applied,” said club secretary Tadek Kopszywa. “As much as we were disappointed by John’s decision, we are hopeful that whoever comes on board will be able to continue his great work on behalf of the club.”

Part of their haste in appointing Coughlin’s successor is driven by the timescales woven into the football season. Most of the squad only have a few weeks of their contracts to run and want to learn whether they will be offered a new deal or if they will have to look elsewhere.

Coughlin will not now, as they expected, play a part in the process and they will be feeling some uncertainty over their futures with a new boss set to come in.

“The timing is very much driven by the need to give our contracted players some clarity over their futures,” said the Shire secretary. “The board will assist the new headcoach in this process, but they will be at the heart of any decision on the first team for next season.

“We already have three key elements in Chris Townsley, Michael Bolochoweckyj and Jordan Tapping who are already in place which is a very good starting point for a new coach to build on,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coughlin’s penultimate match in charge takes the Shire to Elgin where they will aim for a clean sweep of victories over the Moray side this season.

Defeat at Berwick officially ended their chances of making the promotion play-offs – now Shire have to aim to end the season on a high by collecting as many points as they can in their remaining two matches.

Coughlin will be able to recall on-loan Airdrieonians defender Ricki Lamie after suspension.

Shire may not now be able to get into the top four but their final two results will determine whether the perennial strugglers can attain their highest league position since 2010. Victory in both would secure sixth or fifth which would be a massive improvement on ninth, tenth and tenth.