Stenhousemuir suffered back-to-back defeats in their latest Premier Sports Cup group stage fixtures this past week.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 2:22 pm
Stenny had tough tests against two quality sides as they lost 2-1 to Partick Thistle on Saturday and 3-1 to St Mirren on Tuesday (Pic: Scott Louden)

However, the Warriors were heavy underdogs for both as they faced up against Championship contenders Partick Thistle and Premiership side St Mirren

After kicking off with a win at Dumbarton last week it was Partick who were the first visitors of the season to Ochilview on Saturday.

Thomas Orr gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot just after the half hour mark and they held on to that advantage to half time.

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Former Falkirk striker Zak Rudden brought the Jags level seven minutes after the break and Brian Graham gave them the lead on 73 minutes to secure the three points for the visitors.

After facing the current League 1 champions things only got tougher for Stephen Swift’s side as they hosted St Mirren in their next match on Tuesday night.

Stenny managed to get to half time with the scores level at 0-0 but the Paisley side, who finished seventh in the Scottish Premiership last season, made the breakthrough five minutes in to the second half through Curtis Main.

Kristian Dennis gave the visitors a two goal advantage on 66 minutes but Orr pulled one back for the Warriors not long after.

An equaliser might have come but it was the Buddies who wrapped up the win when Lee Erwin’s injury time goal sealed the victory.

Speaking after the St Mirren defeat, Stenny manager Stephen Swift said: “Similarly to Saturday the set up, effort and commitment was all there to see but we can’t give away soft goals.

"We’re testing them at half time, can we come out and be as rigid as we were on Saturday and as concentrated and the answer was no because we gave away two cheap goals.

"I thought we took the sting out of St Mirren’s play in the first half, as much as they scored three goals they weren’t carving us open.

"After our goal we rallied really well and had a couple of scrambles in the box but you always give yourself a tough task when you’re two goals down.”

Things don’t get any easier for Stenny as they finish up their group stage fixtures this Saturday at East End Park against Dunfermline.

The Pars, along with St Mirren and Partick, are very much in contention for a spot in the knockout stages either as group winners or best placed runners up while Stenny are now officially unable to qualify.

That was always going to be a monumental task though and Swift has always viewed these games as being more about extra preparation for the League 2 season which kicks off on July 31.

"This section really is tough and we just have to move on to it,” said Swift.

"Our focus is the league and this will be the last chance for players to stake a claim for the first team against Stirling Albion and we’ll use it for that.

"I’m sure Dunfermline will give us a tough game especially at there place.”

The other match in the group sees St Mirren face Partick while Dumbarton have already played, and lost, all four of their games.