Ath­letic’s shock to sys­tem

Timely jolt: McGovern look­ing for re­turn to form af­ter An­nan loss

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

El­gin City cap­tain Jon-Paul McGovern be­lieves fa­mil­iar­ity is the key to bring­ing suc­cess to Bor­ough Briggs this sea­son.

Jim Weir’s side has re­cov­ered from a woe­ful Bet­fred Cup cam­paign, los­ing all four group games, by mak­ing a strong start in League 2 and McGovern says the tough cup re­sults can bring a long-term ben­e­fit.

He said: “We had a re­ally hard pre-sea­son due to play­ers get­ting to know each other, but the man­ager has found a sys­tem which suits the play­ers and that’s been shown in the re­sults we’ve been get­ting.”

The Black and Whites’ four-game win­ning streak was brought to an end by a 1-0 home de­feat to An­nan last week but McGovern in­sists con­fi­dence has not been dented. He said: “The first half last week was as poor as we have played this sea­son, but in the sec­ond half we cre­ated enough chances to win two games.

“That’s no dis­re­spect to An­nan Ath­letic, it’s a re­flec­tion of how well we played in the sec­ond half and al­though the loss brought our run of wins to an end we’re keen to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing.”

City travel to Ber­wick today aim­ing to get back to win­ning ways and close the gap on lead­ers Stir­ling Al­bion, who have a one point ad­van­tage on Sten­house­muir at the top. El­gin City man­ager Jim Weir is search­ing for a win­ning for­mula again af­ter his side’s run of vic­to­ries came to an end last Saturday.

The Black and Whites’ hopes of a fifth win in a row were ended by An­nan Ath­letic at Bor­ough Briggs where the vis­i­tors took all

Ber­wick, now man­aged by Rob­bie Horn, are sit­ting eighth in the table with only six points from their open­ing five fix­tures but McGovern is wary of the Shielfield Park side.

McGovern said: “Ber­wick will be tough, es­pe­cially away from home. Re­sults have shown every game is hard in this league and you just need to look at Clyde beat­ing Stir­ling Al­bion last Saturday to see how dif­fi­cult the di­vi­sion is go­ing to be this sea­son.

“They’ll be hop­ing to get their sea­son go­ing but we want to show the An­nan re­sult was a blip by get­ting all three points.”

The for­mer Celtic and Swin­don de­fender, who joined the club from Clyde in the sum­mer, has set­tled quickly and hopes he can help City win pro­mo­tion this term.

The 36-year-old said: “I’m lov­ing it at El­gin. The move here has been ev­ery­thing I hoped it would be and more. I’m hop­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence is ben­e­fit­ing the team and I’d like to think I’m con­tribut­ing on the pitch as well.

“I’ve joined a re­ally good group of play­ers and I be­lieve we can chal­lenge this year.” three points cour­tesy of a 1-0 win.

Weir is frus­trated by the loss which is feels was a chance missed by his side and said: “We feel we were un­lucky not to take some­thing from the game. We cer­tainly cre­ated enough chances in the sec­ond half, but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

“It’s shap­ing up to be a league where every­one on their day is ca­pa­ble of beat­ing their op­po­nents and find­ing con­sis­tency is go­ing to be key. It’s dif­fi­cult to put five wins in a row to­gether but last week­end’s re­sult was un­ex­pected for us and we feel as if we let an op­por­tu­nity to close the gap on the teams above us pass us by.

“We’re all look­ing for the for­mula of win­ning reg­u­larly and it’s tough in what is a very com­pet­i­tive league.”

City travel to Ber­wick Rangers today hop­ing to get back to win­ning ways and Weir has warned his play­ers they face a side which will not be lack­ing in mo­ti­va­tion.

He said: “We’ve al­ways found it hard down at Ber­wick.

“We’ve had good re­sults and some bad ones there in the past and I’m sure they will be look­ing at the game as a chance to bounce back from their re­cent poor run.

“They are be­low us in the league and this is an op­por­tu­nity for them to move above us and they’ll be fo­cused on try­ing to do that.

“But I be­lieve it’s about what we do. We know we are ca­pa­ble of win­ning there and we’ll go there try­ing to do that.”

For­ward Ali Suther­land re­mains on the side­lines but Weir hopes the for­mer Ca­ley This­tle at­tacker will re­turn next week. Hiber­nian de­fender Liam Fon­taine will be out for up to three months af­ter re­quir­ing surgery on an an­kle prob­lem.

The 31-year-old suf­fered the in­jury play­ing in a re­cent un­der-20s game for the Ed­in­burgh club.

To add to the de­fen­sive woes for man­ager Neil Len­non, Fon­taine’s fel­low cen­tre back Dar­ren McGre­gor could be out for up to six weeks af­ter an op­er­a­tion on his knee in­jury.

Ahead of today’s home Premier­ship game against Mother­well, Len­non said: “It was pretty in­nocu­ous in the game, but the scan showed the lig­a­ment has come away from the bone so he needs surgery. It is pretty sim­i­lar to the in­jury he had last year so he is go­ing to be out for 10 to 12 weeks.

“Dar­ren (McGre­gor) had his surgery on Mon­day so he is four to six weeks hope­fully.

“So that is a real blow with Liam but the rest of the squad is healthy. We have good depth in the squad and Efe Am­brose and Paul Han­lon were ex­cel­lent last week so I’m hop­ing for more of the same.”

Hibs’ last game at home ended in a 3-1 loss to Hamil­ton, their only de­feat of the sea­son so far, but Len­non has been en­cour­aged by sub­se­quent 1-1 draws on the road against Dundee and St John­stone.

He said: “We have been play­ing re­ally well. I was de­lighted with the per­for­mances in the last two away games and we were un­for­tu­nate not to have won them.

“So if we can repli­cate that at home we have a very good chance of win­ning the game.

“How­ever, Mother­well come into the game on the back of three wins which is ex­cel­lent form.

“They have turned their sea­son around very quickly so the game is a good chal­lenge for us.

“We could and should have more points on the board but it is what it is and if we find the form of the last two games I am pretty sure we will start win­ning more than los­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.