McKe­own des­per­ate to keep the Shotts up and sheets clean again

Evening Times - - SPORT -

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

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