Lowland League: Friday night at Falkirk signals season opener against Stirling Uni

Posted on Thursday, July 28th, 2016

The Ferrari Packaging Lowland League campaign kicks-off this Friday night at Falkirk Stadium and for the third year in a row, Spartans and Stirling University lock horns in an opening day showdown.

Last season, it was Dougie Samuel’s side that pipped Shelley Kerr’s Students to the runners-up spot and with the introduction of Civil Service Strollers, Hawick Royal Albert plus the addition to the league of East Stirlingshire, the importance of a winning start in a season that takes in some 11 calendar months, has never been so crucial.

Speaking after his team’s final pre-season victory earlier this week against neighbours Craigroyston, Samuel said, “I think it’s probably one of the toughest starts we could have got.  It’s second v third from last year and against a team that is effectively full time who will be very fit and organised with new, talented players – all desperate to impress their manager.”

That manager is Shelley Kerr.  The former Spartans Women’s Player & Coach is no stranger to Ainslie Park and also Samuel who regards the ex-Arsenal Ladies gaffer as one of the best coaches in the league.

The pair where spotted in conversation at St Marks Park on Monday night, but what does the Manager think his counterpart will have taken away from the game, other than the obligatory midgie bites?

“Shelley will have seen that our team still has a real desire to get the ball down and play & pass, just like her own, so I think she’ll know it will be a good football match on Friday.  We won’t find out until then which team is still a little undercooked and which is ready to go.

“It will be a really tough game, as it always is against Stirling, but I’m hoping our players will get a lift from playing at the stadium.  I think the chance to play at Falkirk Stadium is a great opportunity.  Last year when we played at senior grounds our players generally got a lift and raised their performance levels.  I hope we can play as well as we did in the opening game last year but this time, come away with three points.”

Spartans go into the game against the Students on the back of a trio of impressive pre-season wins, something that Samuel isn’t getting carried away with at all.

“It doesn’t make any difference.  I don’t think anyone will remember how you did in pre-season, so it really doesn’t count for anything. You don’t know how ready you are until you get the first game under the belt.  So, we’ll know come Friday night if it was a successful pre-season or not.  The disappointing thing for us is that we still have a couple of players with knocks so my starting line-up in my head may still change before kick-off time.”

The Ferrari Packaging Lowland League season opener is at Falkirk Stadium on Friday Night.  Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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