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    Allan Maitland previews Stenhousemuir game 

    Friday, April 22, 2011 11:41:57 AM

    We offer a warm welcome to David Irons, his coaches, the players, directors and of course the supporters of Stenhousemuir who have made the short journey over the bridge for today’s game. The game has become vital for both sides as we try to avoid the play off spot at the bottom end of the league, which is a situation that neither of us expected at the beginning of the season.
    Any disappointments that we have encountered this season have to be put to one side now as we focus fully on the task ahead today and over the remaining two matches. We are in the fortunate position where we know that a win today would secure our place in the league and the players we have at the club have been brought to deal with big games and this certainly comes into that category. Last Saturday at Forfar we were unable to build on our recent victory against Airdrie despite playing well in the first half and creating enough opportunities to give ourselves a margin of comfort. Kurtis had a disappointing day in terms of his finishing, when he missed three chances that I would expect him to score, although his movement throughout the game was excellent and that helped to create the chances. In the three games he has played he has had a number of chances and I am convinced he will score if we keep putting the ball into good areas – his finishing and technique at training are first class and he has no shortage of confidence so I know the goals will come. As often happens in football when you miss chances you pay the penalty and Forfar scored with their first opportunity and that gave them the confidence to play although we were desperately unfortunate not to score right on half time when their keeper blocked a header from Michael McGowan and the rebound ran across the line before being cleared. We started the second half well and Jim Lister scored after good work by Michael but (similar to the Dumbarton game) we lost a quick goal, which was hugely disappointing and Forfar then scored a third with a goal worthy of winning any game. Goals change matches and Forfar last week were a classic example of a team growing in self belief after scoring the two goals in the second half. I believe that the first goal in these games is absolutely vital but equally there is a need for the concentration levels to be high at all times when we don’t have the ball. Today will be a pressure game for both sides and the players that handle that best will win the game.
    It would be remiss of me not to mention the tremendous (and very colourful) support we had last week and I sincerely wish we managed to win to make your efforts worthwhile.
    Stenhousemuir have worked hard to achieve good results recently that have taken them clear of Peterhead and Davie Irons will know that his team have the character to stay in this division no matter what happens today. Grant Anderson has managed to impress all season even when the side were struggling and the introduction of Michael Devlin, Eric Paton and Brian Gilmour has definitely given the club a lift. The fact that Michael has managed to score two goals since his arrival has been a real bonus for Davie but it is his defensive abilities that will give him a chance when he returns to Hamilton and I wish him well. Eric is a player I know well from his days at Partick Thistle and Queen of the South and will bring composure and experience to the squad along with his quality on the ball.
    As I said today is a massive game for both sides and I hope we can provide a game for you to enjoy and that we can secure the victory we need.
    Allan Maitland
    Team Manager

    Managers Corner