Shire hoping to do double over Celtic B

East Stirlingshire returned to winning ways in the Scottish Lowland Football League with a 3-0 victory over Dalbeattie Star at the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:02 pm
Shire score the third goal through Dean Watson (Pics Scott Louden)

Two goals from Dean Watson and a strike from debutant Kieran Offord put Shire back in the hunt for a top-six finish after losing away to East Kilbride last time out, back in mid-November.

Manager Derek Ure says he is happy to have picked up three points going into a busy and potentially pivotal winter period.

“I was delighted with the way that we played,” he said.

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Loanee Kieran Offord driving with the ball

“First and foremost, we never looked in any danger, which is testament to the back four and the goalkeeper.

“We pressed them all over the park, especially at the start of the game, and we showed an energy that helped win us the match.

“In attack, we caused them problems all match and we dominated, so it was a good day at the office.

“The thing for me was we won the game and played to our highest level.”

Jack Hodge fights for possession of the ball

Striker Offord and defender Dylan McDonald joined on loan from St Mirren before the match, and Ure believes their arrivals have given his squad a much-needed boost.

“They are two talented young boys who have come in to stake a place in the team,” he said. “It gave everyone a lift at training the previous week too, and sometimes just having some new faces brings about an energy.

“I’m only interested in players who want to give 110% for us, and they both fall into that category.”

Offord, 17, started the match and made a quick impression, scoring after 20 minutes with a composed finish and leading the line like a seasoned pro, prompting Ure to wax lyrical about his performance.

“For a young guy to come in and play like that in the first game was outstanding,” he said. “Like I mentioned, both boys came in with a real drive and enthusiasm, but Kieran showed his quality on the pitch too.

He’s highly rated at St Mirren and Jim (Goodwin) is a big fan and wanted him to play games.”

Shire now face Celtic B tomorrow night under floodlights at home, with the colts side one place higher in the table in sixth place.

Ure wants his side to take confidence from their previous victory against Celtic B away from home, saying: “It’s a game that will have a fast nature to it, and it is chance for us to close in on them and push for the top six, which is our minimum aim this season. They are a good side, you can’t deny that.

“The ability the young boys have on the ball is immense and they will want to keep a hold of the ball, and it is our job to deal with that. It is a game we can go into with no fear.”

Speaking about that 1-0 win in Airdrie at the start of October, the 37-year-old praised the resilience of his players and is calling on them to display the same toughness this week.

“We won the game in Airdrie because we fought for every ball and didn’t give in when we were under pressure,” he said.

“They had chances, but we battled and didn’t let ourselves down tools or think we were going to concede.

“The guys need to carry that same resolve and fight. It’s a challenge we can rise to.”