Bat­tling to avoid drop

Jags boss hails vic­tory over base­ment boys ‘Gow

East Kilbride News - - FOOTBALL - Paul Thom­son

Les­ma­hagow ........ 1 EK This­tle ............. 3

Alan Pater­son heaped praise on patched-up East Kil­bride This­tle as they earned a vi­tal win in their bid to beat rel­e­ga­tion.

The Jags gaffer, who was forced to pull his side out of Satur­day’s Cen­tral League Cup tie with Glas­gow Perthshire due to a lack of play­ers, watched his side sink rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals Les­ma­hagow on Mon­day night to keep their sur­vival hopes alive.

Goals from tri­al­ists Johnny Di­ack and James Miller plus a penalty from skip­per Dougie Ryan did the dam­age as This­tle ran out 3-1 win­ners.

The vic­tory leaves them four points off the rel­e­ga­tion places but Forth Wan­der­ers, who cur­rently oc­cupy the last spot in the drop zone, have two games in hand and play This­tle on the fi­nal day of the sea­son.

And it makes for a nail-bit­ing 10 days for the Show­park faith­ful.

The Jags have three games re­main­ing with home clashes against Wishaw tonight and sec­ond-bot­tom Thorniewood on Satur­day fol­lowed by the trip to Forth on May 26.

Their sur­vival is very much in the bal­ance, but Pater­son hailed his squad for com­ing through the Les­ma­hagow test and giv­ing them­selves a chance to stay afloat.

He said: “I don’t think we played that well, but we scored good goals at good times.

“We bat­tled well on a dif­fi­cult pitch and you could tell near the end the boys were dead on their feet out there.

“We still have a very de­pleted squad. James Miller came back into the squad for us as a tri­al­ist and scored an im­por­tant goal.

“I had 14 play­ers to choose from on Mon­day night and four of them were tri­al­ists, so that shows you what we are up against.

“Jonny Di­ack, James Miller, Ross Mel­drum and An­ton McGuigan all played a part, so it was vi­tal to get them in.

“We only had three de­fend­ers avail­able as well, so that wasn’t ideal but the im­por­tant thing was we got through the game.

“Some guys are only last­ing an hour and need­ing to come off be­cause they’ve been play­ing so many games re­cently.

“They are play­ing through the pain bar­rier and you could see the team spirit that’s in this squad when we scored.

“These guys aren’t get­ting paid to play, but with the cel­e­bra­tions at the goals you could see how much it means to them.”

This­tle’s in­jury cri­sis looks set to ease off over the com­ing days and Pater­son is hope­ful of hav­ing a stronger squad as they face up to two big tests over the next four days.

He added: “I’m hop­ing we have Scott Had­den and Liam Bar­clay back for Satur­day and we will be a bit stronger by then.

“As for Wed­nes­day, it’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be the tough­est of the last three games.

“But Wishaw have been play­ing a lot of games af­ter their run [to the semi­fi­nals] in the Ju­nior Cup, so hope­fully they run out of steam a bit and we can take ad­van­tage.

“Two wins from our fi­nal three games would be a big help, but we need to go all out for three.

“It could come down to that fi­nal game against Forth, so we have to try and get max­i­mum points and hope for the best.”

Tonight’s match with Wishaw is a 7.15pm kick-off at the Show­park and the visit of Thorniewood on Satur­day is a 2pm kick-off.

Pic: Karen M Scott

Spot on This­tle skip­per Dougie Ryan scored a cru­cial penalty

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