Management thoughts on our Scottish Cup exit.

Posted on Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Mike says –

“I’ve quite a lot to say this morning but first I have to thank, praise and congratulate our boys on remaining unbeaten in 2010 until 20th November. It’s been an unbelievable run of almost forty games and the effort, skill and consistency they have shown since The Vale beat us 2-1 last December has made Sam and myself very proud co-managers.

In the run up to the East Stirlingshire game I made it clear they play with and against better players in a more competitive league. I said we would have to be at our very best and get an even break to progress. I’d give us eight or nine out of ten yesterday and I couldn’t fault us for effort. Did the football gods look down kindly on us? Everyone who was at the Academy know they didn’t. Sam and I saw The Shire twice and they have some really good footballers. Yesterday they showed a steely edge they haven’t shown in the SFL this season, just read their fans on a couple of the Forums this morning.

Shire prepared for yesterday’s game with three very competitive Third Division games in 14 days. We had a free Saturday and a game against a team near the bottom of our First Division. That didn’t help us. The advantage we had playing at the tight City Park with a slope we could handle is no longer there. Because of our previous runs in the Scottish, SFL clubs are ready for us. We are no longer under the radar. Last year Forfar and yesterday The Shire were bursting to go when the whistle went. We are now a scalp for an SFL side – that’s how far we’ve come.  This squad is as good as any Sam and I have had the honour to manage but the Scottish is becoming harder year on year.

For the game itself we deserved a draw at least. We had the ball in the East Stirlingshire box far more than they had it in ours. We had more possession in their final third than they did in ours. In our last defeat Aaron Somerville scored two World Cup goals. He scored with a side foot volley for outside the box after a corner and a goal similar to Faddy’s in Paris which gave Scotland that famous victory. Sometimes you hold your hand up and say – it’s just not our day.  

Yesterday both the Shire goals were top drawer. OK we gave the ball away in the middle of the park for the first and the second was after two debatable decisions but let’s hold our hand up – they were top class strikes. Other than the goals I think Flocks made one other save in the game. We went close on several occasions in the first half as the ball whistled across the Shire box. In the second we scored a good goal but apart from Cloudie’s header we didn’t have any clear cut chances after the Shire’s second. Don’t get me wrong we had the ball and four or five of our players in the Shire box near the end but it never fell kindly for a clean strike. End of story.

Good luck to The Shire in the next round and I hope they get the money spinner they desire. Jim McInally is a top guy and his team try to play football in the correct manner. For ourselves we are out of the only competition we weren’t going to win and we have ALL to play for.

I’ll finish with two observations. After the draw was made Craig and the backroom boys held two or three meetings. Their organisation for and on the day was superb. If ever a club had the facilities, football team and organisational back up to play at a higher level it’s the team based at Ainslie Park.

Secondly, we have some players who have played at a higher level, at least one who has turned the opportunity down, two or three who wouldn’t be interested and two or three who are desperate to give it a go. Yesterday in midfield we had a player who was head and shoulders above everyone on the park. Sure the conditions suited him but on that showing he should be playing at a higher level than the Third Division. I hope he gets his chance – next season of course.”

Mike


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