Shire keep calm and carry on

Shire boss John Coughlin is preparing for the visit of Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday
Shire boss John Coughlin is preparing for the visit of Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday

Keep your feet on the ground. That’s the advice being given to East Stirlingshire players and fans after the club’s best start to a league season in 38 years.

Two wins from their opening two games have Shire on top of the SPFL Scottish League Two on goal difference and they face local rivals Stirling Albion at Forthbank at the weekend, a club who also have a 100% record so far.

Shire have been getting some great press over the past fortnight and becoming a good news story is welcome for a club whose very participation at this level of football has been questioned by some. But no-one is getting above themselves.

“We are the last people in football to get carried away by something like this,” said club secretary Tadek Kopszywa. “The coaching staff are very well grounded, we have a core of experienced players who know how fickle football can be and we have a group of fans at the moment who have stuck with us loyally through some of the worst times.

“Nevertheless, it has been great to see smiles around the club, to see how confident the players seem and how much everyone has been enjoying it. It is pleasing also to pick up the papers and read the nice things people have been saying about us.

“But it has taken a lot of hard work over the last two-and-a-bit years to get to this stage and we want to try and sustain it as much as we can but no-one should forget we are a small club with limited resources.”

Coach John Coughlin raised eyebrows with some of his summer signings and those experienced additions have certainly made a huge difference to Shire’s start to the season.

But the club secretary is at pains to point out they have not joined the big spenders and will not damage the future of the club through splashing more than they can afford.

“We are still a small club even within our own division,” said Kopszywa. “We have brought in some great signings and that comes with a price tag but it will not upset our overall objectives to remain viable through a policy of sustainability.”

Coughlin has some extra injury worries ahead of Saturday’s clash with Stirling Albion. Midfielder Ross O’Donoghue left last weekend’s 3-0 win over Elgin City early with a hamstring problem and has been receiving treatment all week in the hope of getting him fit.

Scott Maxwell missed the Elgin game with a dead leg and he has still been unable to train and may well not be fit enough for the Stirling clash.

Their opponents have their own problems and Shire will be relieved that experienced centre-half Jamie Bishop will be suspended for the game after being red carded last Saturday.

“That is a positive for us because he is their main organiser at the back,” said Coughlin. “But it is not all about them. We have to focus on our own performance and make sure we are in the right frame of mind for the match.

“Stirling have one of the most experienced squads in the league and you only need to look at the list of guys they had sitting on the bench last weekend to realise how far that experience stretches.

“But we are in a good frame of mind going into the game. We still have a number of players in the squad who took part in the 9-1 defeat there last season and I would hope that memory will spur them on as much as it will spur me on to get the right result,” said the Shire boss.