Don’t mind the gap
Kilby skipper plays down possible points difference
East Kilbride skipper Barry Russell insists he is not worried about the possibility of title rivals BSC Glasgow opening up a five-point gap at the top of the Lowland League this weekend.
The K-Park side have a free Saturday, while BSC host Whitehill Welfare looking to pile some early pressure on the defending champions by extending their two-point lead at the summit.
However, Russell is looking at the enforced break as a positive following Kilby’s hectic start to the season, which has seen them play matches in the Betfred Cup and IRNBRU Cup on top of their league committments over the past two months.
The 28-year-old, from Westwood, told the News: “I think the break has come at a good time after all the cup games we’ve had.
“I know BSC Glasgow will go five points clear if they win their game on Saturday, but we need to keep winning games to put pressure on BSC and over take them.
“Everyone wants to beat us because we are champions, so nothing will really change.
“We are not worrying about them. Once it hits Christmas, that’s when you start to see how things will go.
“BSC have had a great start, but things can turn round again. We will have a game in hand and it’s a long season.
“We’re still unbeaten ourselves and we’ve not done much wrong.
“With all the games we’ve played in the Betfred Cup and IRN-BRU Cup, this gives us the chance to freshen up the squad.”
Kilby gaffer Billy Stark echoed those sentiments following Saturday’s 4-1 win away to Gretna.
He said: “I’m not disappointed we are having a week off. The players deserve the break given the volume of games we’ve had and the calibre of opposition we’ve played. “It will be useful for us to have some time off. “We can’t worry about BSC. If they win, of course, it adds a bit of pressure but we are used to pressure.
“We have to deal with it every week being the defending champions and every team wanting to claim a scalp over us.
“If you’d said to me at the start of the season we’d have six wins and two draws from eight games, I’d have taken it. “That is a good start in any league.” East Kilbride have ruled out playing a friendly on Saturday and will channel all their energy towards their next league clash on September 23, when they host last season’s runnersup East Stirlingshire.
When the fixtures were released in the summer, many expected this could be an early season top-of-the table clash.
But Shire have endured a poor start to this campaign, picking up just nine points from their first seven games to leave them 13 points adrift of leaders BSC.
Despite their recent form, Russell is expecting a tough contest against their old rivals.
He said: “Before the start of the season, I thought East Stirling would be right up there in the top four again, but I don’t know what’s happened to them. “Their results are not what we would have expected. “That doesn’t matter because they’ll be well up for playing us after what happened last season, so we won’t take anything for granted.
“We know we haven’t been playing our greatest football, especially at home, but on Saturday everything clicked at Gretna and we want to build on that.
“We are looking forward to the game when it comes and we want to keep the pressure on BSC.”
Handle the pressure EK captain Russell will be unperturbed if BSC go five points clear as boss Stark (below) is happy to have a break from hectic schedule