Stenhousemuir put up a stern test to Ian McCall’s Championship new-boys Ayr United when the sea-side club visited Ochilview.
In the Warriors’ second match of the pre-season campaign, and many more to follow, the new Championship side were clearly better, but Brown Ferguson’s men put up a decent show despite going down to two first half goals.
“It was a very worthwhile exercise,” Ferguson told Heraldsport, “Results at this stage are not the important thing and it’s a good chance to see how the players adapt to different systems and so on.”
It looked likely that the home side might suffer from a morale sapping defeat when the “Honest Men” took the lead in the 16th minute..
Ayr had dominated and it was no surprise when Paddy Boyle cut into the box on the left before firing across the helpless Colin McCabe and in at the far post.
Jack Smith forced former Warrior Greg Fleming into a good save shortly after, but it was a brief respite amid United’s ball possession and it took a wonder save from McCabe in the 41st minute to prevent Brian Gilmour’s free-kick dipping in just under the bar.
The inevitable was only delayed, however, and two minutes later Gilmour sent in a peach of a cross that the Trialist centre met with force and McCabe could do nothing to stop the header entering the net.
Ferguson’s team tightened up after the break though, and although his team seldom troubled the visiting keeper, they limited the opposition’s chances to increase the score.
“I was pleased with a lot of things,” the boss continued, “I thought we performed well generally and protected our goal defensively.
“It was good to see Jack Smith , (signed from Lowland League team East Kilbride after scoring to dump his new team out of last season’s Scottish Cup) getting a game.
“He is still adjusting to the pace of the game and his surroundings. He will do well for us and is still getting up to speed, but his attitude is terrific, he is a good listener and I am sure he is going to be a good addition to the team.”
Home fans get the chance to observe how preparations for the new term are going when St Mirren visit on Saturday with the kick-off at 2pm. That’s followed three days later, Tuesday, July 12, when Cowdenbeath come calling. Kick-off is 7.30pm.