They may have taken 10 points from a possible 15 over five games, a run which has dragged East Stirlingshire off the bottom of League Two, but coach Craig Tully says they still can do better.
The Shire boss was again hard-to-please after Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Montrose, the team’s third victory in a row at Ochilview.
It’s not the first time Tully has chosen to pick over the team’s faults after a win; the players received a tongue-lashing after almost throwing away three points against Queen’s Park earlier in the month.
But, he says, it would be wrong to interpret any of this as dissatisfaction with his squad. Instead, says Tully, his drive to improve standards is motivated by his own belief in the players at his disposal.
“I am sometimes not sure if this group of players has any idea how good they are and if they know what they are capable of,” he said. “You have to keep driving it home to them that they can achieve much more than the league position shows. I believe in them and the coaching staff believe in them but they need to believe in themselves.”
Saturday’s game against Montrose was a case in point. Having won the battle and built up a commanding 3-0 lead early in the second half, Shire fell out of the game completely. Afterwards, Tully was at a loss to explain why the performance levels dropped off in quite the way they did.
“We just stopped doing all the things that were bringing us success,” he said. “It maybe wasn’t a great game but we had worked hard to get ourselves into that position and then we let Montrose back into it.
“To be fair, we defended well and they didn’t create a great deal but we allowed them too much possession and gave them the opportunity to get back into the game which they shouldn’t have had.”
The Shire boss is relieved more than anything else to get the team away from the foot of the league table, a position that was the direct consequence of a poor run which saw Shire lose six games on the bounce in the early part of the season. The aim now is to stay away from the drop zone.
“It has been hard over the past few weeks because we have been winning games and coming in at full-time to find out we were still bottom,” he said.
“But we have now managed to move away from last place and I think we are capable of pushing on. It’s time to start looking up and catching teams rather than looking down nd worrying about the teams that are below us. We need to set our standards high.”