Let’s make Hampden roar
Binos boss wants to keep good run going
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