Whitehill winger Steven Manson says he is expecting a fired-up East Stirlingshire outfit to descend on Ferguson Park tomorrow aiming to prove they mean business this season.
The Shire were the first side to be relegated from the senior game following the introduction of the pyramid system in 2013 when they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Edinburgh City in May, relinquishing their place in SPFL League Two to Gary Jardine’s men.
And, although an immediate return will be high on the club’s agenda this season, Craig Tully’s side failed to get their Lowland League campaign off to a winning start, having been held to a 2-2 draw at home to Vale of Leithen six days ago.
However, Manson believes last weekend’s failure to pick up all three points will provide that extra incentive to do so in Rosewell tomorrow.
“They’ll have a few experienced players having dropped down from League Two so we’ll have to deal with that,” said the 28-year-old.
“It’s going to be a tough match. After drawing their first game I imagine that will make them more determined to get the three points tomorrow as they won’t want to fall further behind at the top.
“But the manager was saying on Wednesday night after our win against Selkirk that teams shouldn’t be coming to Ferguson Park and be leaving with three points.
“It happened in the first game against East Kilbride, so we need to make sure it doesn’t happen the rest of the season.”
Whitehill have responded emphatically to losing to Kilby in their league opener, a 3-2 win at Hawick Royal Albert was followed up with another three points on Wednesday night, this time a 3-1 triumph over Selkirk.
“The games have been coming thick and fast so we’ve had that chance to pick up six points, so six out of nine isn’t too bad a start,” Manson said. “It just shows you what the league is about, as there was Civil Service getting hammered in their first home game 5-0 and then going down to Gretna last weekend and scoring four.
“We’ll need to be on the top of our game tomorrow if we are to pick up anything, so it should be a really good test for us.
“It’s definitely a younger and less experienced squad we’ve got this year. But, at the end of the day, it all comes down to money and it’s well known that the money is just not the same as it used to be at the club.
“The ethos has changed a wee bit, but I definitely think we’ve got the potential to do well this season.”
Manson is now in his sixth season with Whitehill and is the longest serving player in manager Steven Hislop’s dressing room – a position he is encouraged to utilise.
“The gaffer tries to get us more experienced ones to help out,” he said. “The more experience you have in the league the better, as no disrespect to the East of Scotland, but there were a few weeks when you just had to turn up and you’d win those matches.
“If you go into games with that attitude now then you’re not going to pick up anything. It’s trying to get everyone to buy into that way of thinking when approaching games.”
Elsewhere, Edinburgh University make their bow at Peffermill tomorrow when they welcome Dalbeattie Star.
The students have picked up two points from their opening matches on the road away to Capital rivals Spartans and BSC Glasgow.
Meanwhile, the first round of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup gets under way tomorrow, with Spartans drawn at home to divisional rivals Gala Fairydean Rovers. Civil Service Strollers are in action against Peebles Rovers at Christie Gillies Park and Preston Atheltic will look to atone for their 5-0 thrashing at Cumbernauld Colts on Wednesday when they entertain Burntisland Shipyard at the Pennypit.