Don’t mind the gap

Kilby skip­per plays down pos­si­ble points dif­fer­ence

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Thom­son

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

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