Shire boss Tully doesn’t want promotion chat distraction

Shire face a trip south
Shire face a trip south

East Stirlingshire coach Craig Tully has banned all talk of promotion play-offs at the club despite a sensational run of form which has been Shire edge ever closer to the top four places in League Two.

After Tuesday night’s late win over Elgin City only goal difference keeps Shire out of the play-offs and they could find themselves leapfrogging East Fife if they can take all three points from Saturday’s visit to Annan Athletic.

But despite that, Tully is refusing to take the bait when asked by the media about their play-off hopes and has banned his players from doing likewise.

The Shire boss says he’s happy to take things one game at a time and doesn’t want any added pressure.

“Right now we are playing well and getting some great results and performances and I am happy to leave it like that,” he said. “People are

always trying to ask you about where this will lead and whether we think we will be in the play-offs.

“But we are just focusing on trying to keep the run going. We are quite

satisfied to look ahead only to the next game and that way we won’t get caught out dreaming about what might happen at the end of the season.”

For all that, Shire’s recent rocket up the league table has given Tully the

satisfaction of proving to people his players are better than results in the early part of the season indicated.

Privately, the club’s head coach always believed he had a capable bunch of players who, he believed, when they were languishing at the bottom of the

league, were under-performing.

Now he at least has the evidence to prove his theory right; a run of eight

matches which has produced six wins, a draw and just a single defeat. The

sequence has catapulted Shire from a side four points adrift at the bottom to one on the verge of something special.

“When we were down at the bottom it was hard because that’s where everyone was expecting us to be,” he said. “It was impossible to try and persuade people that we were better than that, especially those who had never seen us play.

“It’s hard trying to convince people that you’ve been unlucky and have been

playing better than your results say, it’s a lot easier when you are on the kind of run we are on right now.”

Much of Shire’s revival over the past few games has come on the back of

goals from 17 year-old Kevin Nisbet, who’s on a month-long loan from Partick Thistle.

His strike at Borough Briggs on Tuesday was his fourth in four games and now Shire will be doing what they can to try and keep him at the club until the end of the season. Tully’s assistant, George Shaw, is a former Firhill player

and will try to use his connections to extend the loan.

“It took us time to get him here but now we are really keen to keep Kevin,”

said Tully. “He is the striker we have been looking for and I am sure the kid

himself, and his club, are really benefitting from him being here.”

Tully is hoping central defender Chris Townsley recovers from a sickness bug

that forced him to miss Tuesday night’s game. The centre-half has been in

great form recently and he will not want to go to Annan without him.

“We need our best players available for difficult games like the one at Annan on Saturday,” he said. “Otherwise, Shire should not change too much as they aim to continue their run of results.

“Annan are one of our bogey teams this season,” said Tully. “We have lost all three games against them this season so that is something we want to

change.”