Stenhousemuir 0-1 Stirling Albion: Swift disappointed after losing out in tight contest
One goal was the difference as Stenhousemuir lost their 2021/22 cinch League 2 opening game to Stirling Albion last Saturday.
The Binos left Ochilview with all three points as Martin McNiff’s 72nd minute winner secured a 1-0 victory for the visitors who did finish the game with ten men after Dylan Mackin was sent off in injury time.
Warriors manager Stephen Swift described the match as being a tight contest, with very little to separate the two teams, and feels a draw would ultimately have been a fair reflection on the balance of play.
He said: “We're disappointed with the result but there was nothing in the game.
"It was a typical first game of the season, a bit tense on both teams' part.
"We didn't express ourselves in the way we want, dominating the ball the way we should.
"Our decision making up top wasn't good, a draw would have been a fair result but we lost our way and conceded a cheap goal.
"Neither keeper really had a save to make which tells you what the game was like.”
Swift wasn’t looking to make excuses for the defeat but did acknowledge that, with 20 new signings making up a brand new squad, it will take time to gel.
"It's a brand new team and during pre-season we were establishing a style of play,” said Swift.
"Then, in the league cup group, we were playing against Premiership and top Championship sides which meant we had to set up pragmatically and try to be hard to beat.
"When you do that you lose a lot what you want the team to play like but, that being said, we still need to be better than we were on Saturday.
"I think we got exactly what we expected from Stirling, they were very organised and they didn't give you much.
"We knew we'd get nothing easy which was right and they have players who can hurt you like Leitch and Flannagan.
"It came as a bit of a surprise that Laird, a defensive midfielder, and McNiff, playing left back, combined for the goal.
"It took us by surprise but we still need to be more organised and defend those situations.”
Next up for Stenny is a trip to Cliftonhill this weekend where they will face Albion Rovers.
The Coatbridge side, predicted by many to be fighting it out at the bottom end of the League 2 table this season, kicked off by upsetting Edinburgh City with a 2-0 win.
"It did take me by surprise,” said Swift.
"I probably thought Edinburgh City would be one of the favourites for the league but it shows you that you can't take anything for granted.
“Who is to say a team you might not expect can't go and make a run for it?
"This league is going to be really tough and we need to get that across to our players, preparing for every game the right way.
"I think Brian Reid is doing a great job there and they will be well organised.
“We have to be aware of their strengths, make sure we prepare right to go and get the three points.”