Month: November 2016

Saturday’s Opponents – Gala Fairydean Rovers

Shire travel to Netherdale for the first time in almost 30 years on Saturday for a Lowland League match against Gala Fairydean Rovers (kick-off 3:00pm).

The last visit in the 1987/88 Scottish Cup ended in a 5-3 Shire victory over the then-East of Scotland League Gala Fairydean in a season the club reached the last 16 of the competition.

Since then the Galashiels club become founder members of the Lowland League and effectively became a new side after merging with the amateur Gala Rovers.

In that first Lowland League season Gala finished tenth out of twelve, but in 2014/15 they improved to eighth out of fourteen competing teams although last term they had to settle for eleventh from fifteen.

In the current season their season has mirrored Shire’s somewhat in that they prefer home comforts to their travels. They are unbeaten in their last five league games at Netherdale but have only claimed one point in their last six Lowland League away fixtures.

However, their home scalps include Vale of Leithen, who they beat 4-2 in their last home fixture, and Spartans who also went home with no points at the start of November.

Rovers’ home exploits have also included a tidy victory over one the the top sides in the Highland League. Fraserburgh travelled to Netherdale in round one but were beaten 3-1 by a Gala side who were then rewarded with a trip to League 2 Elgin City.

With that kind of record, even though Rovers sit fourth to bottom, Shire will know they will face a tough game against a set of opponents who know how to win on their own patch.

They certainly do not lack experience in their ranks either. Shire fans and players will be familiar with a number of the players in the opposition ranks this weekend.

In recent weeks they have lined up front with Stuart Noble and Sean Paliczka, both in the latter stages of their careers but who have played at a very high standard of league football – Noble with St. Johnstone, Airdrie, Alloa and Berwick Rangers and Paliczka with East Fife.

Former Hibernian man Darren Smith had a number of years at Airdrie and Berwick before joining top junior side Bonnyrigg Rose.

Goalie Jamie Newman was with Shire in 2008/09 as a youngster and was thrown in at the deep end when an injury crisis forced head coach Jim McInally to give him his Shire debut in a Scottish Cup game against Dundee United at Ochilview.

Manager Steven Noble has also taken advantage of the development loan system and has taken some youngsters from SPFL clubs too.

It certainly won’t be an easy ask for Shire and the club is appealing to fans to travel in numbers to help the team maintain its good recent run of form.



Another Hat-Trick Anyone ?

History has thrown down a challenge to the Shire team as they prepare for Saturday’s trip to Netherdale to face Gala Fairydean Rovers in the Lowland League.

If any of them can score a hat-trick in the game then it would equal the club’s post-war record for the number of consecutive matches where at least one Shire player has scored three or more goals, which currently stands at four.

In the club’s last three games Andy Rodgers claimed his match ball by becoming the first Shire player in seventy years to score five in a game in the 9-0 win over Newton Stewart.

A week later Shire returned to Lowland League action with a 6-2 win over Preston Athletic, thanks to four goals from David Grant.

And last Saturday it’s was Paul Sludden’s turn as he scored three in the 5-0 win over Selkirk.

That run of hat-tricks is the longest since September 1946 when individual Shire players scored three or more goals in  four consecutive games. Charles Service scored five in a 12-1 Qualifying Cup win over Moorpark Amateurs on 7th September, a week later the same player scored three in a 6-2 league win against Brechin City.

Service followed that on 21st September with four in a 9-1 victory over Shawfield Amateurs in the Qualifying Cup, a game in which Ian Crawford also scored four, and Service scored his fourth successive hat-trick with three in a 4-2 league win over Dundee United on 28th September 1946.

It all adds up to a run of scoring which puts our current 22 goals in our last four matches in the shade a wee bit.

Nevertheless, the team is hoping to do its best to add to that in what will be a tricky game against a Gala Fairydean Rovers side who have gained some positive results over the last few matches, especially at home.

We will need as many Shire fans at Netherdale on Saturday to help the team out. The home club is operating a “pay what you can” policy on the gate which should make it an attractive proposition for fans. Please come along and support the team.



Pay What You Can At Gala

There will be no set admission charges for Shire’s Lowland League trip to face Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale on Saturday.

Instead, fans are being encouraged to come along and “pay what you can” with the money collected on the day going to our host club’s charity partners.

We hope this venture not only raises cash for some worthy local causes in Galashiels but also encourages as many Shire fans as possible to travel to the game and cheer on the team.


Everyone at the club, including the players and coaches, appreciates the support we get from our loyal fans who have turned out in good numbers to cheer on the team this season.

The encouragement really does have a positive impact on the team and does help them during games.

“It’s a pleasure to be a part of,” said last Saturday’s hat-trick hero Paul Sludden. “All the fans that are here, it’s great to be part of and we have a great spirit and long may that continue.”

The Supporters Club is organising transport to the game against Gala Fairydean Rovers. If you want to book your seat on the bus then contact Sandy Nimmo on 07803 708119.


Shire 100 Club

Shire fan Mark Batham has received an early Christmas present thanks to his membership of the Shire 100 Club.

The season ticket holder picked up the monthly £150.00 cash prize when the draw was made during half-time of Saturday’s 5-0 Lowland League win over Selkirk at Ochilview.

The cash draw was made by Andy Scargill and Mark Raper, representatives of our match sponsors on the day.


The second prize draw was for two boardroom hospitality tickets for a future game at Ochilview. This was won by Chris Binge and the draw was made by loyal Shire fan and season ticket holder Morris Lapsley along with Shire player Graeme MacGregor.


Well done to both Mark and Chris and thanks to everyone who took part in the draws.

Again, they show the benefits of being a member of the Shire 100 Club. We are always looking for new members and it’s a great way to support the club financially and make a contribution to supporting it meet its objectives on and off the pitch while standing a chance of winning cash and other prizes.

You can be a Shire 100 Club member for as little as just £5.00 per month. Full details and an application form are available by clicking on the link here .

On The Road Again

The team will play it’s first away game in more than a month when we travel to Netherdale to face Gala Fairydean Rovers this coming Saturday in our latest Ferrari Packaging Lowland League encounter.

Shire have played their last five fixtures at Ochilview – the last time we played an away game was on Saturday 22nd October when we drew 0-0 at Annan Athletic’s Galabank in the second round of the Scottish Cup.


Incredibly, the last time Shire played away from home in the league was Saturday 24th September at Spartans when the team lost to a penalty kick in the final minute of injury-time at the end of the game.

We are again hoping to raise a sizable travelling support to take to Galashiels and the Supporters Club will be organising transport. If you would like to book a seat on the bus then get in touch with Sandy Nimmo on 07803 708119.

The match will be Shire’s first visit to Netherdale since a Scottish Cup-tie in 1987/88 season which we won 5-3 largely thanks to a John Irvine hat-trick.

Everyone at the club is looking forward to the game, especially after having registered four straight wins, and we would love to have as large a travelling support there as possible to cheer on the team.

It’s My Ball

The club ended up making not one, as planned, but two match ball presentations to players at yesterday’s home Lowland League game against Selkirk.

Before the game David Grant, who had scored four in the previous week’s 6-2 victory over Preston Athletic, was given his match ball by loyal fan Jennifer Bell.


It was another to add to his collection for the season. Shire’s top scorer has found the back of the net 19 times in all competitions this season.

And after the 90 minutes were up and Shire had won 5-0 there was another similar presentation to make to Paul Sludden, who scored three of the five goals in yesterday’s victory.

Paul received his match ball in the boardroom after the game from our match sponsor for the day, AJS & RJ Consulting.


With Andy Rodgers having scored five a fortnight ago, and, of course, taking home the match ball like David and Paul, signed by all his team mates, it has led to coach John Sludden speculating that some replacements might be required for matchday kick-ons and for training purposes.

“I think (club secretary) Andy (Williamson) is worried he might have to go out and buy some more,” joked the head coach afterwards.

It’s Not Important Who Scores – PJ

Striker Paul Sludden became the third Shire player in successive Saturdays to claim a hat-trick match ball – then said it wasn’t important who gets the goals that win games.

Nevertheless, a week after David Grant hit four against Preston Athletic and a fortnight after Andy Rodgers scored five in the game against Newton Stewart, Paul says he was happy with his own achievement.

His three eased Shire to a 5-0 win over Selkirk that wasn’t without its difficulties but which became easier after a two goal burst in the opening six minutes of the second half. Shire now move to second in the Lowland League table.

Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.
Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.

“It’s great to get goals but it’s all about the team,” said Paul afterwards. “It doesn’t matter if I’m scoring, if Andy or Granty’s scoring, or if the midfield or the defence is scoring, it’s about us getting three points every week and doing the best we can.

“Personally it’s great to get three goals but it’s all about us taking each game week-by-week and doing the best we can.”

The Selkirk match was by no means as straightforward as the final score makes it appear. The visitors certainly gave their all, especially in the first twenty minutes and had one really good chance to take the lead at 0-0.

However, once Shire eased themselves into the game Selkirk found the strike force a bit too hot to handle. Paul says there is certainly a pattern there.

“That seems be a recurring theme,” he said. “Teams come at us and for the first 20 minutes it is a very competitive match. But if we can get into our stride and create chances we always look like we are going to score.

“Credit to Selkirk. They came with confidence and they thought they could get at us again but defensively we worked hard as a unit to stop them scoring first and foremost.

“But once we got the first and then the second that really settled us,” said Paul.

It was the team’s fourth successive win and the Shire striker, who joined from fellow Lowland League club Stirling University in the summer, says after a bit of settling in the team is now starting to tick.

“It’s very enjoyable,” he said. “You have to come and enjoy your football. That’s what it’s all about. We had a squad overhaul in the summer and it’s taken us a couple of months to get used to people and how they play.

“All we can do now is take each game as it comes and see where it takes us,” said the striker of the next important challenge, which is to keep that run of wins going and try to get closer to the top of the league.

You can listen to Paul’s full post-game comments by clicking on the link below :

Click here to read a full match report on Saturday’s 5-0 win over Selkirk and watch match highlights on the game.

Home Mission Accomplished – Coach

At the end of a long five week run of home games coach John Sludden says the aims and objectives have been pretty much met as Shire now prepare to hit the road again.

The team has won its last four matches, scoring 22 goals in the process, and the weekend 5-0 victory over Selkirk now means Shire are nestled in to second place in the Lowland League table.

The aim remains still to go one better than second, but John says the basic targets have been achieved, at least in the short-term, and the players have now set themselves up for the kind of run he knows will be necessary if that ultimate goal is to be reached.

Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.
Photo : Alan Murray, Falkirk Herald.

“We can’t ask very much more of the boys in terms of goals scored, goals against and the points tally, which is the most important thing,” he said. “We want to win games first and foremost, but the manner in which we are winning them can only be good for us.”

Shire have been playing catch-up with the rest of the league since the very first game of the season when the trip to Edinburgh University was postponed. And there are still games to be made up on their nearest rivals.

That’s one of the benefits of a win like Saturday, as Shire played while their opponents sat idle, said the coach.

“When games are cancelled we want to play because of the fact that we are games behind. It’s important to take advantage of that and get the three points and get us further up the league. We spoke about that in the build-up to the game and we have managed to do that,” said John.

Selkirk were very willing opponents and gave Shire a few problems in the early part of the game. The coach says he was expecting their onslaught but was grateful the Shire defence proved more resilient than in the teams’ previous meeting when Selkirk had scored seven.

“We felt that in the first fifteen minutes they would come and have a go at us,” he said. “So it was important that defensively we were switched on and then we got stronger as the game went on.

“We scored a good first goal and after the second we just got stronger. We scored five and created another three or four other chances as well which is all very pleasing.”

Although the coach is delighted to get back into second place in the league he says it’s important not to become distracted and instead to focus purely and simply on each game the team plays.

“We must focus only on ourselves and not bother about anyone else,” said John. “We must continue to keep winning and improve our points tally.”

Listen to coach John Sludden’s full post-game interview by clicking on the link below :

Selkirk Preview

This weekend Shire are back in Lowland League action when Selkirk are the visitors to Ochilview on Saturday (3:00pm kick-off).

It is the first return game Shire have played so far in this season’s league competition, having visited Selkirk’s Yarrow Park back in September losing a goal-filled, action packed encounter 7-4, one of only three league games Shire have lost so far.

Both teams will be keen to get a win for their own reasons; Shire are looking for a fourth straight victory while Selkirk will be keen to get their first away win in the league this season.

We look forward also to welcoming our match sponsor AJS & RJ Consulting Ltd and our match ball sponsor AiiB Consulting Ltd. and we thank both for their generous sponsorship which does make a big difference to us.

Shire will wear our traditional black and white hoops with Selkirk in their home strip of all-royal blue. The match referee is Craig Napier and kick-off at Ochilview is 3:00pm.


MATCH : Shire go into Saturday’s game on a run of three successive wins in which the team has scored a total of 17 goals. They started with a narrow 2-1 victory over Dalbeattie Star thanks to Connor Greene’s injury-time winning goal.

A week later we were reaching for the record books when Shire won 9-0 against Newton Stewart in the third round of the SFA South Region Challenge Cup on a day when Andy Rodgers scored five goals.

And last Saturday Shire were still in the mood for goals when the team beat bottom side Preston Athletic 6-2 at Ochilview with this time David Grant the top scorer with four.

This week’s game ends a run of five consecutive home games for Shire. Of the previous four the team has won three and lost one and Shire will go into the Selkirk match having won their last four league matches and will be defending an unbeaten home league record so far this season having won seven and drawn one of eight games.

Club captain Derek Ure missed last week’s win due to suspension but he will now be available for this week’s game while Graeme MacGregor, who hasn’t featured in the last three matches because of a hamstring injury has again trained this week.

Selkirk are still looking for their first away win of the season and have not won a league match since 1st October. They have lost their last five Lowland League matches although four of these defeats have been by a single goal margin, including last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Gretna 2008.

PAST : This weekend’s game is Shire’s first reverse fixture of the league season so far. The teams met at Yarrow Park on 17th September when Selkirk were bottom of the table having lost six of their first seven games.

Their previous home game had seen them record a 7-1 victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers, their only points of the season so far. Shire were most people’s favourites but incredibly found themselves 3-0 down in the opening quarter and were 4-1 adrift at half-time.

Shire got themselves back on level terms at 4-4 but the home team struck back to score three more goals in the closing quarter to win 7-4.

VIEWPOINT : That last game has loomed large in Shire’s pre-game build-up for Saturday’s return encounter. Assistant Coach Martin Mooney says lessons have been learned and the team is determined to try to make amends for the trip to Yarrow Park.

Martin has praised his team’s most recent performances as “exciting to watch” and will be demanding the players reach the same high standards against this weekend’s opponents that they have established over the last few Saturdays.

To listen to Martin’s full pre-match interview click on the link below.

Shire defender Connor Greene was part of the Shire team who suffered when the club lost the last game against Selkirk and he says the players are determined to make amends.

Connor says the team has learned from that day and described the defeat as “perhaps the shock we needed”. He says the results since that day prove the loss jolted the team into action and a subsequent surge up the league table.

Listen to Connor’s thoughts ahead of the Selkirk game by clicking on the link below :


A Shock That We Needed – Greene

Connor Greene was part of a shell-shocked Shire defence that lost seven goals to Selkirk the last time the teams met in September.

Now, as he prepares to face the Yarrow Park team again at Ochilview this weekend, he says that the 7-4 defeat the last time round was perhaps, “the shock to the system that we needed.”

Certainly there have been no more such shocks since then. The central defender says the team’s recent run of good results means it’s a match they can look forward to as they aim to close the gap on the teams above Shire in the Lowland League table.


“Since then you have seen a reaction from the boys, so you could say we’ve learned from it,” said Connor. “Since the Selkirk game when we defend we work as a team and when we get the ball up front we’ve got the players who can go and win us game.

“But those boys have also been helping us out by defending when they need to as well.”

The difference has brought significant rewards. Shire are now one of the league’s form teams, having won five of their last six league encounters, the last being a 6-2 victory over Preston Athletic at Ochilview last weekend.

“It’s good to play in. Winning games and scoring goals is enjoyable,” said Connor. “We have to win our games just the same as Spartans and East Kilbride. Every game they win they know they need to win the next one or else we’ll catch them.

“We’ll just keep going and keep winning games and move on to the next one,” he said referring to the need to keep hacking away at East Kilbride’s advantage over Shire at the top of the Lowland League table.

Photo : Paul Cram, Falkirk Herald
Photo : Paul Cram, Falkirk Herald

But he knows that the next game does take on some extra significance simply because of what happened the last time these two clubs met. Connor says neither he or any of his team mates want to go through that again.

“We know that if we take the attitude into the game that we’ve taken into the last few games then we can come out the other side with a win.

“It was probably the worst day in football I’ve ever experienced,” he said of the September clash. “We will be trying to make sure that never happens again.”

Connor and the rest of the Shire players would really value your support at Ochilview this weekend. Please come along and give the players a hand. Everyone with the club at heart will be more than welcome to what will be a very important match.