Paton still missing as Stenhousemuir prepare for battle

Eric Paton is not yet fully fit
Eric Paton is not yet fully fit

Warriors’ players could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu as they prepare for this weekend’s vital match against Airdrie United.

A win would help cement the Warriors’ position in the second division play-off places - but a defeat could see them drop to as low as sixth place in the table.

Stenny faced an identical prospect ahead of last weekend’s game at East Fife, which was described as the biggest of their season.

But assistant boss Kevin McGoldrick now reckons that the Airdrie game is now even BIGGER.

Following a 1-1 draw in Methill, the race for the play-off places is likely to be a photo finish.

THREE teams now sit on 42 points - with Brechin just behind on 40.

“It’s likely to go the wire,” McGoldrick said.

“But we’re still in fourth place and our fate is still in our own hands after the East Fife game. That was probably our biggest game of the season - but now Airdrie is the same scenario.

“We lost an early goal last week, but we took control after and a point was the least we deserved.

“We now face an Airdrie side that are capable of scoring goals, but like ourselves have been inconsistent at times.”

McGoldrick admits that he and boss Davie Irons do feel slightly aggrieved that the club finds itself in a position where it could slip to mid-table, considering that it was in touching distance of promotion-chasing Cowdenbeath and Arbroath for a large part of the season.

But a collapse in form around New Year means that every one of Stenny’s five remaining league matches is likely to be vital.

Goldie added that the introduction of a couple of loan signings and the return of Grant Anderson had sharpened other players’ minds, as they were now no longer guaranteed a first team place.

One player who is still being missed though is Eric Paton.

The former Kilmarnock ace has struggled with injury since new year - coincidentally the same time that Stenny began to lose form.

“On his day, he’s probably the best player in the second division,” said McGoldrick.

“He returned to light training this week, but the Airdrie game is too early for him.” make Stenny 6/5 favourites this Saturday, with Airdrie priced 7/4.