Mar 2 2012 by Donald Morton, Stirling Observer Friday
STIRLING Albion go into their crucial home game with Albion Rovers tomorrow (Saturday) boosted by a terrific 3-1 midweek win over Brechin City at Glebe Park.
Goals from Alan Cook, Mark Ferry and Gary Thom had Greig McDonald’s men in command and although Paul McManus pulled one back, the Binos held on to gain revenge for last month’s 3-2 home defeat to the same opponents.
The result means they are now bottom of the table by virtue of a single goal, having moved level with Rovers on 23 points, so the importance of tomorrow’s match is clear.
It’s a huge week for the club. On Tuesday they host a Forfar team who beat East Fife 3-2 in midweek to stay three points above the relegation places and two wins in the space of four days could completely transform Stirling’s season.
They arrived in Brechin on the back of a miserable run of two points from a possible 24 and the 3-1 triumph couldn’t have been timelier as they prepare to take on Paul Martin’s outfit.
The Coatbridge club enjoyed a sequence of four straight victories in the autumn but are yet to win in 2012 after drawing 2-2 at home to Forfar last weekend. Stirling won 1-0 at Cliftonhill in January and go there again on the final day of the season but were fortunate to escape with a point when the teams fought out a 2-2 draw at the Doubletree Dunblane Stadium in August.
McDonald had promised a reaction in the wake of the heavy defeat at Dumbarton and he certainly got it on Tuesday against a Brechin side sitting just outside the promotion play-offs.
He said: “We were absolutely brilliant. From start to finish, we did what I had told the boys to do, and it was an extension of the performance we gave against Cowdenbeath. We’ve had performances before where we’ve performed for periods of the game, but tonight we did it for 90 minutes.
“I said to them before the game that we’re coming into an important run of games and it was time to produce. I’ve got absolute faith in these players and they’ve come out tonight and I thought we were great value for the win.
“I’m disappointed that we conceded a goal, because I thought we defended magnificently, especially given that we lost Shaun Dillon to injury after just 20 minutes.
“I thought our midfield worked ever so hard, and we looked dangerous with pace on the break, and when we went forward, and we’ve scored three excellent goals. I’m delighted for the boys and everybody at the club.
“We took a sore one on Saturday but you need to take these ones on the chin, probably better than I did in the post-match press conference. I said then that I could guarantee a reaction and we certainly got that. We now need to look forward to the next game, because we know how important Saturday is.
“The table is there for everyone to see, so we don’t have to talk around what this game means, it’s a big one. However, although a result would be a big psychological boost for us, there are still plenty of games to play and I expect some more twists and turns. Our league position is in our hands, and we’ll move off the bottom if we beat them, and that’s exactly what we’ll aim to do.”
Albion will again be without top scorer Scott Davidson, who is also suspended for Tuesday’s home game with Forfar, but skipper Brian Allison is back from a two-match ban. The Binos lost Darren Smith and Shaun Dillon to injury at Glebe Park and both could be doubts for tomorrow.
McDonald added: “Darren needed stitches on the top of his foot, so it will be a question of seeing how that swelling settles down before Saturday. Shaun has gone over on his ankle a bit, so we’ll need to assess these guys ahead of the game. Thankfully we have Brian Allison coming back from his suspension and that will be a big boost.”
There are still a few tickets left for Stirling Albion’s fundraising dinner at the Doubletree Dunblane Hydro tonight (Fruday), priced £60. Speakers for the Annfield Revisited event are Chick Young and Ron Yeats, with top football impersonator Paul Reid also on the bill.
Auction prizes can be viewed on the club website and include VIP tickets for T in the Park this summer, a tennis racket signed by Andy Murray and signed jerseys from Celtic and Rangers. For more information, contact the club on 01786 450399.