Let’s make Ham­p­den roar

Bi­nos boss wants to keep good run go­ing

Stirling Observer - - THE BACK PAGE - David Ogilvie

Stir­ling Al­bion head for Ham­p­den to face Queen’s Park to­mor­row aim­ing to ex­tend their un­beaten run to five matches.

It’s the Bi­nos’ first trip to the Na­tional Sta­dium since a 1-1 draw there in April 2016 and it’s not a venue that has brought them much joy in re­cent times, with just one win in the last seven vis­its.

Stir­ling beat the Spi­ders 1-0 at Forth­bank in Septem­ber with a Ross McGeachie goal, but the Glas­gow club gained re­venge in the Scot­tish Cup the fol­low­ing month be­fore los­ing to Raith Rovers.

Queens en­joyed an ex­cel­lent run of form in the early pe­riod of Mark Roberts’ reign after Gus MacPher­son moved to St Mir­ren, but have lost their last two matches in Ladbrokes League 2, away to Cow­den­beath and Ed­in­burgh City.

How­ever, lead­ers City are the only vis­it­ing team to have left Ham­p­den with all three points this sea­son and the Spi­ders are un­likely to be as gen­er­ous as the El­gin team who shipped five goals at Forth­bank on Satur­day after rac­ing into a 2-0 lead.

Bi­nos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz said: “We didn’t make a great start against El­gin but the lads did re­ally well to come back.

“I thought their red card was soft – I didn’t see much dif­fer­ence be­tween that and Jor­dan Al­lan’s tackle late in the game – and we looked a bit anx­ious even at 4-2 against 10 men.

“I’m look­ing for a bet­ter per­for­mance against Queen’s Park, we need to start the game bet­ter.

“Maybe we need to look at how we pre­pare the play­ers, but we need to make sure that if we are not play­ing well our bot­tom level isn’t be­low a six out of 10.”

Striker Dar­ren Smith, who scored two goals on his come­back from in­jury last week­end, added: “Hope­fully we can start climb­ing the ta­ble and build on the win over El­gin.

“It’s a nice big pitch at Ham­p­den and hope­fully we can play some bet­ter stuff again and get a vic­tory.

“The start of the sea­son has not been what we hoped for but now we need to win as many games as we pos­si­bly can and see what hap­pens.

“The gaffer has been ex­cel­lent since he came in; his en­thu­si­asm, his en­cour­age­ment to the play­ers and the tempo has been very high in train­ing.

“It has all been very pos­i­tive and I think you can see that on the pitch – per­for­mances have been bet­ter and every­one has been putting a shift in as well.”

Rutkiewicz is de­lighted to be able to call on the ex-Mother­well man, who net­ted 25 goals last sea­son and has now re­cov­ered from a back prob­lem.

He said: “Dar­ren is an im­por­tant player for Stir­ling Al­bion and he would be an im­por­tant player for any team in this league.

“He ran him­self into the ground last week and was pretty tired near the end but he got his re­ward for it.

“He brings a con­fi­dence to the fans as well, which is al­ways good. You can feel they are lifted by him be­ing on the pitch and I’m de­lighted to have him back.”

The ref­eree for to­mor­row’s game at Ham­p­den is Gra­ham Beaton and kick-off is 3pm. Ad­mis­sion is £14 for adults, £5 for se­niors, and £3 for stu­dents, un­em­ployed and U16s.

De­fender Lee Hamil­ton and striker Mark Ste­wart re­main on the in­jury list, but keeper Calum Fer­rie, on loan from Dundee, re­turned to the squad last week­end.

Stir­ling Al­bion’s re­serve side are in ac­tion on Tues­day, De­cem­ber 11, against Ber­wick Rangers in the Re­serve Chal­lenge Cup. The game has been switched from Shielfield to the Michael Woods Sports Cen­tre in Glen­rothes, kick-off 8.05pm.

Keep it go­ing Boss Kevin Rutkiewicz hopes his team can con­tinue its un­beaten run

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