Play it again Shire: boss seeks another goal salvo

John Sludden. Pic by Alan Rennie
John Sludden. Pic by Alan Rennie

John Sludden will demand the same high standards from his East Stirlingshire players that have brought 30 goals in their last four matches as they prepare to face Civil Service Strollers at Ochilview on Saturday.

The Shire coach says there can be no let up in their recent form and is rejecting any notion that results like last weekend’s 10-1 win over Gala Fairydean Rovers say more about the poor quality of the opposition than his players’ performances. To prove his point, Sludden revealed that before last weekend’s game he would have been happy with any kind of win and was concerned their opponents would present a stern challenge.

“People might ask, ‘Who are you playing against?’, but Gala have had good results against other teams who are around us in the league table, so I think the players deserve praise.”

As the squad gathered at Little Kerse again this week ahead of another Ochilview encounter, Sludden was emphasising the need to adopt a professional, hard-working attitude and not to take their opponents lightly.

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season Shire beat Civil Service Strollers 8-3 in Edinburgh but there is no thought in Sludden’s mind about running up another big win. His only priority is to get the three points, no matter how they are won.

“First and foremost, you just have to try and make sure you win every game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s 1-0, or 4-0 or whatever. The first thing you have to concentrate on is getting the win.

“But we also have to recognise that right now not only are we winning but we are winning well, and the team is playing very well and that’s very pleasing.” Despite his pragmatic approach and a very firm refusal to get carried away with a run of results which has seen Shire lose just one of their last ten games, the Shire boss accepts that watching a team that’s scored 44 goals in ten outings is fun.

“As coaches we want to win games,” he said. “But when you are winning, scoring goals and entertaining fans then that’s very pleasing too.

“They seem to be really buying in to what we are trying to do and long may that continue.”