Shire seal sixth after final day showdown

A last-gasp strike from on-form hitman Kieran Offord sealed East Stirlingshire a top-six finish in the Scottish Football Lowland League in dramatic fashion against Berwick Rangers.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:39 pm
East Stirlingshire players celebrate Kieran Offord's first goal of the match (Pictures: Scott Louden)
East Stirlingshire players celebrate Kieran Offord's first goal of the match (Pictures: Scott Louden)

A 2-1 victory on Saturday at the Falkirk Stadium saw Derek Ure’s side climb up into sixth spot on their final matchday after Edinburgh’s Civil Service Strollers lost to Stirling University.

Manager Ure told the Herald he was proud of the efforts of his side, saying: “There were certainly easier ways to go about it, but overall I would say the boys deserved what they got with the top-six finish.

“We’ve had a couple of hard-luck stories this season for sure and some games have just gone against us.

Kieran Offord looks to win the ball back in midfield

“The amount of games we should have won is frightening when you look at the amount of draws we have had.”

That top-six berth has given Shire a spot in next season’s Scottish Challenge Cup and he says that extra chance of silverware was an added incentive during their run-in.

“Having a goal and aim for the final few games helped,” Ure said. “It gives us something different to look forward to and it will be a test for our players.

“Playing sides better than us is what we want. That’s how you improve.”

Shire assistant manager John Brownlie on the touchline

St Mirren loanee Offord scored both Shire’s goals in the match and has impressed since joining.

The 18-year-old is set to return to the Buddies in the summer and be a part of their first-team squad.

Ure said: “The most pleasing thing about him is that when he misses a chance, he’s right there ready for the next one.

“His movement is excellent and the goals he has scored speak for themselves.

“To round the goalkeeper in the final minute of the game, needing a goal, and place it as calmly as he did shows just how level-headed he is.

“All of our loanee players have made an impact this year in a big way.”

Shire now face Caledonian Braves in the Lowland League Cup’s quarter-finals tomorrow Friday night.

Ure wants to go all the way, saying: “Our goal is to go out and win the competition, and it is something I really believe in.

"If we go through, it’s a home semi-final too.”