McKeown desperate to keep the Shotts up and sheets clean again
WITH their sights set on winning promotion via the back door, Shotts Bon Accord’s run of clean sheets could be stretched to an impressive six games if they don’t concede a goal away to Wishaw today.
The remarkable sequence – last achieved almost 40 years ago – is a source of great pride to boss John McKeown, a former centreback, whose personnel changes over the summer and hard work on the training ground has instilled a real sense of organisation to his Hannah Park rearguard.
He batted away any plaudits, insisting: “Having a solidity about us is pleasing for me as manager but everything achieved up to now like setting club records is down to the players.
“Their attitude and determination make us hard to beat and nobody epitomises these qualities more than our club captain Chris ‘Junior’ Smith, a veritable rock at the heart of our defence.
“I was a bit tentative going into last week’s game against Yoker Athletic without Chris because of an injury but I shouldn’t have had any doubts because his team mates carried on where he left off and we ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.
“The only real surprise was Danny Burns failing to figure on the scoresheet for a second week because he’s been prolific and has 19 goals to his name despite missing a games through injury.
“I just worry that talking so openly about our clean sheets stats now will lead to us shipping a goal or two through at Wishaw, however I can accept that just as long as we come away with the points.”
The short trek through to The Beltane is a return to former pastures for Ruggy as well as a clutch of his playing charges – Michael Collinder, Watt, Crawford and the list would also have included Nikky Moore but for a torn cruciate ligament injury ruling the striker out until next season.
Last night the Shotts gaffer said: “Wishaw is where I cut my managerial teeth and I can recall a lot of enjoyable times there so I’m looking forward to going back even though I feel as if we are in for an extremely tough 90 minutes.
“Their third-bottom of the league position is a totally false one if you ask me and I’m pretty sure my players will agree seeing as Wishaw went away with a deserved 0-0 draw when they played us in early October.”
Shotts are joint League One tabletoppers along with Gartcairn who head up the standings by virtue of having scored more goals, but the seasoned McKeown reckons as many as five clubs will be in contention for the three promotion next May.
He added: “Considering we were eight points adrift of Gartcairn at one stage, I have to be happy with our clawing back their lead and it will be interesting to see how they react to their first league defeat last weekend by Port Glasgow which followed on from a 2-2 draw with Glasgow Perthshire and a dropping of another two points.
“They are going through a sticky spell but ultimately we can only look after ourselves by going out and winning games which is why I feel it is crucial to keep our run going with a win at Wishaw.” spots on offer
Shotts gaffer John McKeown