Ochilview is slicker than your average

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A CHANGE of surface should do East Stirlingshire’s chances of picking up vital league points over the next few games a world of good.

That is the hope of coach John Coughlin following Shire’s disappointing 1-1 draw against Stirling Albion in midweek on a gluepot pitch which the coach says did not help his players reach the best of their abilities.

They now travel to Annan on Saturday to play their newly-installed 3G surface before returning to Ochilview for a Tuesday night encounter with Clyde which is followed by another Ochilview clash, this time with Elgin City.

“Our next few games are all on artificial pitches and you have to hope that will be to our advantage,” said Coughlin. “We tend to get the best out of our better players on the 3G and right now, when points are so vital to us, we have to seek whatever advantages we can find and there is little doubt our team is better-suited to those kinds of pitch.”

Coughlin was not critical of the Forthbank surface on Tuesday but he does feel the kind of game produced on a typically heavy winter grass pitch in Scotland does not bring out the best in his team.

“Tuesday’s game was just a real slog with very little quality anywhere on the pitch,” he said. “But that is the kind of game you tend to get on grass pitches at this time of year.

“The game literally passed a lot of our better players by and we need to be able to bring guys like Andy Stirling into matches more because that is the type of player who can win them for you.

“In that sense we are pleased we will not have to plough through muck over the next few games.”

Coughlin is well-aware that a draw leaves Shire no better off in their fight to move away from the foot of the Third Division table but he is convinced the squad of players will continue to improve.

Shire welcomed Nathan Shepherd back to action in Tuesday night’s derby and he could be in line to claim a start against Annan, especially as Shepherd’s left-back stand-in Scott Maxwell is struggling with injury.

New signing Max Wright is another Coughlin is looking to for a much-needed injection of pace. The former Rangers and Stranraer striker carved out a couple of decent opportunities for himself as a substitute at Stirling which was his third and final appearance as a trialist.