Swift looking to spring surprise on Airdrieonians

Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift admits last-minute injuries and call-offs made last Saturday’s trip to league leaders Kelty Hearts in League Two a near-impossible task for his side.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 6:02 pm
Stenhousemuir manager Stephen Swift (Pic Michael Gillen)

The Ochilview side were hoping to extend their six-match unbeaten run but fell to a 2-0 defeat, with Swift’s side starting the match without a recognised striker after Thomas Orr missed out due to Covid-19 protocols and Ryan Tierney was absent due to a family bereavement.

Swift said: “It was a difficult one for us. Nat (Wedderburn) was a huge miss for us in the middle of the park as well and he has been pivotal for us recently.

“Then we didn’t have a striker available to start the match, which was out of our control. With that it made a difficult task in going to a team flying at the top of the league even harder for us.

“We set up to stop them playing and get in their faces as much as we could but, being honest, we didn’t execute it well enough on the day and they were worth the three points.

“Adam Brown had a good chance at the very start and Darren Christie went close with a volley. If we’d taken one of them, it could have been different.”

The opener was scored by Aberdeen loanee Connor Barron, who took advantage of slack defending to ghost through the middle and finish early on to give the Warriors a mountain to climb.

Joe Cardle made sure of the victory for the hosts in the second half, but it was the first goal that frustrated Swift most.

He said: “Connor Barron is someone we spoke about beforehand and how he makes late runs into the box. It was a focus for us during the week so, as a manager, things like that infuriate you because we conceded the exact goal we set out to avoid. It caught us out a bit and our defence was split.”

Stenny now turn their attention to the Scottish Cup’s third round. They play League One side Airdrieonians at home on Saturday and Swift believes his side can progress to the next round against higher-league opposition.

“We actually played them in a friendly not too long ago and we matched them throughout,” he said. “The game will have a good atmosphere and we a couple of ex-Airdrie lads like Sean (Crighton), which always adds a bit to the game. I believe, outwith the top teams in the country, we can beat anyone at home.”