Ian McFarland: It’s unthinkable if Spartans lose five games on trot

Ian McFarland
Ian McFarland
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Spartans midfielder Ian McFarland says it is unacceptable for a club of its stature to go four games without a win.

The Lowland League champions haven’t tasted victory since the beginning of September and return to league duty with the visit of Edusport Academy tomorrow.

Since the 1-0 success at home to Whitehill Welfare seven weeks ago, the Capital men have crashed out of the William Hill Scottish and South Region Challenge Cups while picking up just a solitary point from their previous two league fixtures.

Spartans currently lie fourth in the table and are just two points adrift of joint-leaders Kelty Hearts and East Kilbride.

But McFarland is adamant the recent statistics don’t sit well with the players and coaching staff at Ainslie Park.

“We’ve had two defeats in cup competitions and just one in the league (3-1 away to Gala Fairydean Rovers) so it hasn’t been too damaging in terms of our league position,” the 27-year-old said. “But to go four games without a win is not acceptable at a club like Spartans. We are the champions so I suppose teams will always be desperate to put one over on us. We need to find a way to meet that head on and deal with it.

“We’ve dominated a lot of matches so far this season but we’ve haven’t got the goals to show for it. We’ve got to look at more people to help the strikers out chipping in with the goals.

“We had hoped to have been doing better than what we are but we’ve actually got more points on the board than we did at this stage last season.”

McFarland says the league is following a similar pattern by getting stronger year on year.

“I think the league has improved again from last season,” he said. “Even the likes of Vale of Leithen are picking up good wins against the likes of East Stirlingshire, so if you have an off week you’ll be found out.

“It’s been said so many times but it really is a tough league.

“You only have to look at how Barry Ferguson has taken a job at a Lowland League club. It’s some appointment for Kelty and a massive statement from them. I think a lot more managers of that ilk will fancy coming down to this level as you then have the opportunity to make a name for yourself before moving up again.

“I think tomorrow is a must-win game for us. We have to win it, there’s no two ways about it. Edusport were one of the better teams we played last year and we had some tough encounters. We need to be on it from the start.”

McFarland insists he will continue to take the acclaim having been credited as Spartans’ goalscorer in last weekend’s 3-1 Scottish Cup defeat by East Kilbride – even if it was team-mate Adam Corbett.

“When I was in the car on the way home I had loads of messages saying well done for scoring,” the former Edinburgh City player explained. “It had come up on Sky Sports that it was me but I had to tell them it wasn’t. I don’t score many so I’ll take it if they want to give me it!

“It was really disappointing to lose having gone ahead. The way the second half turned out was nowhere good enough, certainly for the standards we have set ourselves.”

Meanwhile, following their 360-mile round trip that resulted in a 2-0 defeat by Ladbrokes League Two outfit Elgin City, Whitehill Welfare are back on home soil when they welcome Stirling University to Ferguson Park.

The Lowland League’s bottom club have won just once all season but could move to within three points of their opponents should they register a win. Dorian Ogunro’s Edinburgh University host Cumbernauld Colts at Peffermill and Civil Service Strollers welcome East Kilbride to Christie Gillies Park.