Marc McCulloch admits a much-improved performance will be required from Stirling Albion if they are to take anything from their game at Peterhead tomorrow (Saturday).
The Binos are bottom of the table after slumping to a 3-1 home defeat to Montrose on Saturday and only a win at Balmoor will give them any chance of avoiding being ranked the worst team in the country when the first quarter of the Third Division campaign concludes this weekend.
Peterhead lost 2-1 to East Stirling last time out and were recently shocked in the Scottish Cup by Deveronvale – who travel to Forthbank in round three next week — but are unbeaten at home, with a draw against Rangers and wins over Berwick, Montrose and Queen’s Park to their credit.
Stirling have not beaten the Blue Toon in the North East since a dramatic 3-2 success in December 2006 but they earned a 1-1 draw on their last visit in March 2010 and would surely be happy with a similar outcome, having lost all three away league games this term.
Oddly, the Binos have not drawn a league match since a 1-1 stalemate with Arbroath in mid-March, winning four and losing 11 of their 15 fixtures since then.
McCulloch, who again takes charge with Shaun Fagan as manager Greig McDonald is still on his honeymoon, said: “The team picked itself for Montrose because everyone did so well against Rangers but it is the opposite this time. Everyone who trained on Tuesday and Thursday will have a chance of playing — we have a big squad and there are plenty of options.
“The Montrose game wasn’t good enough. We need more energy and enthusiasm from the players, which, for whatever reason, didn’t happen on Saturday.
“Peterhead are a good side, although they have been a bit up and down so far. I would expect them to be up near the top come the end of the season but the most important thing is that we go up there and produce something for our supporters – they deserve a big display.
“I know Peterhead manager Jim McInally from my time at Morton and he is a good manager with plenty of experience. They also have a goal threat in Rory McAllister, but really it is about what we do — and we know we need to do better.
“We didn’t do well in our last away game in the league against Berwick (a 4-1 defeat) but we showed a good attitude in the next match at Dalbeattie and followed it up by beating Rangers.We have to show what we are capable of.”
Striker Steven Weir will miss out after incurring a two-match ban for his dismissal against Montrose and McCulloch is ruled out with an ankle knock.