Civil Service Strollers boss lifted by upturn in results

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Now that the dust has finally settled on Civil Service Strollers’ hounding by East Stirlingshire 13 days ago, boss Alex Cunningham has admitted he allowed his emotions to get the better of him.

Cunningham revealed in his post-match interview that he was considering his future at the club having watched his side sink to an 8-3 defeat on home turf to the Shire – seven of those goals conceded during a wretched first 45 minutes.

But, two points picked up from Strollers’ last two outings, a 0-0 stalemate with Edinburgh University and last weekend’s enthralling encounter with Spartans that finished 2-2, has afforded Cunningham some renewed optimism for the weeks and months ahead.

“I was absolutely distraught after the East Stirlingshire game, I’ve got to be honest,” said Cunningham, who takes his side to Alloa’s Indodrill Stadium for tonight’s encounter with BSC Glasgow. “I just thought you’re putting in all this time and effort and we get taken to the cleaners with a scoreline like that.

“But to their credit the boys have bounced back and even a couple of their guys had put out on social media that it wasn’t that we were poor, it was just one of those days that everything they hit ended up in the back of our net.

“But it turns itself around because four days later we went and played really well against Edinburgh Uni and we really should have taken all three points there. We were then fantastic against Spartans last Saturday and came within a whisker of taking all three points again.

“We dominated the second half and Spartans looked quite average really. But in fairness to them they kept plugging away and we conceded a stupid penalty in the 92nd minute which was a real killer.”

Strollers were handed a home tie against divisional rivals and fellow league newcomers Hawick Royal Albert in Monday’s William Hill Scottish Cup first-round draw. However, Cunningham and his players are only too aware of the threat Albert pose having succumbed to a 5-0 defeat to the Borders club in last month’s league curtain-raiser at Christie Gillies Park. “I’m delighted with the Scottish Cup draw as both teams will be looking at it as a very winnable tie,” he said. “We’ve not been pitched up against your Linlithgow’s or your Bonnyrigg’s so we’ve got a chance. It will come down to who plays well on the day. We certainly didn’t do ourselves justice the last time we played them on the opening day. It was just a complete shambles.

“We’ve quickly found out in this league that you’ve got to try and play to your best capabilities every week and if you let those standards drop then you get caught out and sometimes it’s the real hard way.”

Elsewhere this weekend, Spartans will look to get their campaign back on track having fallen seven points adrift of early pacesetters East Kilbride. Dougie Samuel’s men have picked up just a solitary point from their last two matches, a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Cumbernauld Colts nine days ago was followed by last weekend’s Capital derby with Strollers – David Greenhill converting from 12 yards in the final minute ensuring Spartans left with a point to their name.Tomorrow they return to Ainslie Park with the visit of Gretna 2008.

It’s fourth versus sixth at Ferguson Park as Whitehill Welfare entertain Vale of Leithen. Home boss Steven Hislop has seen a steady improvement from his players who are seeking their third win on the trot following recent wins over Gala Fairydean Rovers and Preston Athletic.

Edinburgh Uni, meanwhile, travel to face Hawick Royal Albert at Mansfield Road. The students have picked up just one win in seven and are currently languishing in 12th place – three points better off than bottom side Selkirk. Preston, who are just a point off the bottom, face a tricky tie against Gala at Netherdale.