'Hungry' Premiership Kilmarnock just a step too far for Warriors, says Swift

Stenhousemuir boss Stephen Swift admitted his side came up against a ‘hungry’ Kilmarnock side on Saturday, and that the 4-1 defeat at Rugby Park didn’t leave him disheartened.

By Ben Kearney
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 8:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 8:17 pm
Matty Yates scored a stunning free-kick to level the match for Stenhousemuir in the first-half (Photo: Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Matty Yates scored a stunning free-kick to level the match for Stenhousemuir in the first-half (Photo: Alan Harvey/SNS Group)

On the day, a wonder strike from Matty Yates drew the Warriors level in the first half after an early goal from Liam Polworth.

However, a double from Oil Shaw and a goal from Daniel Armstrong sealed the three points for the hosts.

Looking back on the final match in Group B of the Premier Sports Cup, Swift said: “It is never nice losing, especially 4-1, but I didn’t feel downhearted about it.

Nat Wedderburn looks to hold off Kilmarnock's Daniel Armstrong

“For Killie, this was a massive game and they needed a performance.

“You could see even on the touchline they demanded a high tempo and they had a couple of new signings players.

“It gave the place a lift and we were forced to try and get through a tough opening and we conceded early on.

“No matter who we played, if they fancied it and were up for it, then a Premiership team is going to beat you.

Stenhousemuir boss Stephen Swift watches on from the touchline

“That is what happened on the day.”

The Ochilview boss took pleasure from parts of his side’s performance, despite the result.

"The players really had no fear and they pressed and played, even after going a goal down which was really encouraging,” he added.

“We grabbed a great goal and it was an outstanding free kick from Matty Yates.

“The cup group gives the players moments like that, and I was delighted for him – he has shown so far that he is a real talent.

“After that they get a soft penalty which is just one of those things.

“When you come to somewhere like here, you need things to go for you and it didn’t.

“In the end, Killie were far too good in the second half.

“Even when they missed the second penalty, I felt we weren’t playing with the same vigour that we did in the first half.”

Stenhousemuir now move on to League 2 action, with the opening weekend seeing the Warriors take on Albion Rovers on Saturday afternoon at home.

Brian Reid’s side are the bookies favourites to finish bottom but Swift says they need to stay focused.

“We are in a great place and we have the bit between our teeth,” he said.

“We need to continue what we have been doing in these part four matches.

“In our shape, the players need to continue doing their job and that cannot chance against anyone.

“We want to use our attacking full-backs and score goals alongside that solid base to our formation.

"Albion Rovers will look to hit us on the break and they will pounce on any mistake we make.”

Swift also confirmed for the first time this campaign, he should have a full compliment to choose from on Saturday.

“Michael Miller had a close family wedding that was pre-planned against Killie,” he explained.

“Daniel Higgins is almost back. He joined in the warm-up.

“We should have a fully fit squad going into the match hopefully.

“The competition for places is great.”