Apr 4 2012 by David Ogilvie, Stirling Observer Wednesday
STIRLING Albion travel to Brechin on Saturday as their bid to avoid a second successive relegation reaches a crucial stage in the season.
When Greig McDonald’s men coasted to a 3-0 home win over Albion Rovers a month ago it looked as if a place in the relegation play-offs would be the worst case scenario.
But the Binos now find themselves four points adrift at the bottom of Division Two with only five matches remaining.
Rovers have secured back-to-back victories over promotion-chasing Stenhousemuir and leaders Cowdenbeath while Stirling followed up a last-minute 4-3 defeat at Forfar by tamely going down 2-0 to Airdrie United at the Doubletree Dunblane Stadium on Saturday.
It had the feeling of a pivotal weekend – and not in a good way.
The fact Stirling go to Albion Rovers on the final afternoon of 2011-12 offers them some hope but they need to reduce the gap between the clubs by at least one point before then.
A run of two wins in 15 games suggests they face an uphill struggle to avoid plunging into Division Three for the first time since 2003-04.
McDonald’s men have already beaten Brechin at Glebe Park this season, claiming an impressive 3-1 win at the end of February, and Jim Weir’s team lost their most recent home match 3-1 to East Fife.
But inconsistent City shocked Arbroath 3-2 at Gayfield on Saturday and are just two points outside the promotion play-offs, where they have lost in each of the last three years.
Stirling have still to play title favourites Cowdenbeath, as well as play-off hopefuls Dumbarton and East Fife, and McDonald knows his team have to get points on the board.
Looking back on the Airdrie match, he said: “It was just like last week at Forfar, in that we didn’t start the game until we were two goals down and you just can’t do that.
“It wasn’t good enough on Saturday, particularly in the first half, and I’m very disappointed in the performance that we got.
“The players are a great bunch of lads and I’ve backed them 100 per cent all the way – and I still do. I know they have enough in them to get out of this situation but the first half was totally unacceptable.
“The second half was a bit better but even then we didn’t reach the heights I’d expect us to get to.
“It was a disappointing day all round, with Albion Rovers winning as well, but there is still a lot of mileage in this league.
“Airdrie have played us five times this season and have beaten us in four of those games. I don’t why but they just seem to have our number.
“We were trying to reverse that, which makes it even more disappointing. I don’t think it was a reaction to losing in the last minute at Forfar. I don’t think the two games are related. In both we just didn’t reach the levels we need to get to but sometimes that happens in football.
“We went to Brechin and won the last time. They are a good side but we need to start to winning games – it is as simple as that. I can do all the talking I like but we have told the players it is about getting results on the park so they need to step up and we will see if we get a reaction next week.”
The supporters club’s player of the year awards will take place on Saturday, May 5, at the Doubletree Dunblane Stadium from 6pm after the Albion Rovers away game. The players and management team will be present.
Tickets are priced £2, which includes an alcoholic drink, soup and sandwiches. They will be on sale at the Binos Bar on home match days and are also available from the Stirling Albion office. The event is not restricted to supporters club members.