Preston Athletic manager Craig Nisbet says he will have no hesitation in calling on the club’s under-20s players in an attempt to ease the Panners’ growing relegation fears.
Nisbet’s men were taken to the cleaners by opponents BSC Glasgow on Saturday, suffering an 8-3 defeat in Clackmannanshire – a result that leaves them two points adrift of fellow strugglers Selkirk at the foot of the table with 14th-placed Civil Service Strollers a further six points clear.
In truth, the ease at which BSC were allowed to waltz through a defence that has now shipped 14 goals in their past two outings was quite alarming.
Nisbet was left scratching his head on the touchline at the manner in which they conceded and found it difficult to contain his anger during his post-match interview.
“We’re not tracking back, not going with the runners, we’re playing for ourselves and not the team. It was just horrible out there,” he raged. “That’s the worst performance I’ve seen by a country mile since I’ve been a manager. There’s a lack of desire, players aren’t doing the job that’s being asked of them and they are passing the buck – it’s as simple as that.
“Two or three of the under-20s are good enough to step up if needs be and there are boys who never got on on Saturday so they deserve a wee chance in our next match against Hawick. “I’ll be looking to see if there are any players who are available to come in because that just isn’t acceptable.
“Judging by Saturday though there will have to be a remarkable turnaround if we’re to take anything from that game. How can you go from getting beat 2-1 by Spartans where we put in a great performance to that? Teams are just walking through us.”
The visitors’ vulnerability was exposed as early as the sixth minute as BSC full-back Shaun Bowers ran unchallenged from his own half before sending a delicate chip over the head of goalkeeper Bruce Callan and into the top corner.
Blair Lyons ruffled the side netting of the Preston goal just minutes later but the hosts doubled their lead on the quarter-hour mark.
Gavin Stevenson, who would later be forced off with a suspected knee ligament injury, needlessly gave the ball away in the middle of the park allowing striker Aidan Ferris to charge down on Callan and unselfishly tee up team-mate Robbie Duncan to score.
Nisbet was given false hope 90 seconds later as on-loan Spartans striker Keith Murray smashed the ball high past BSC No.1 Joe Wilton following Fabio Neto’s cross-cum shot.
The Preston rearguard were all at sea midway through the first half, Ferris hitting the post and then going agonisingly close with a snapshot that was inches past Callan’s left-hand post.
Ferris was causing havoc and he had a hand in BSC’s third of the afternoon as he picked out Lyons who finished with aplomb.
Scott Siegel’s cynical foul paved the way for BSC’s fourth two minutes prior to the interval, Bowers’ delivery causing panic in the six-yard box and Ferris pounced to lash the ball home.
Lewis Bell’s curling effort a minute later completed a thoroughly miserable first period for a shell-shocked Nisbet and his players.
Things went from bad to worse however for the East Lothian outfit after the break, Lyons’ darting run was brought to a halt inside the box giving Ferris the opportunity for his second of the afternoon from the penalty spot. However, he couldn’t capitalise as Callan got down low to his right to turn the ball away.
Neto pulled one back after 57 minutes from close range but Gary Redpath’s strike saw that deficit again increase to four with 20 minutes remaining. A fine individual effort from Preston’s Daniel O’Rourke’s made it 6-3 before Lyons scored BSC’s seventh.
Preston substitute Matthew Graham was shown a straight red for an altercation with winger Duncan, who was somehow spared an early shower despite his retaliation.
Tom Woods added an eighth late on to compound the Panners’ misery.
BSC Glasgow: Wilton, Bowers (Woods 46), Keys (Traynor 55), Toner, Bell, Redpath, Duncan, Cunningham, Ferris (Holms 72), Corrieri, Lyons. Subs: Barr, Bembo.
Preston Athletic: Callan, Cowan (Jardine 65), Cochrane, Siegel, McLeod, O’Rourke, Shave, Stevenson (Colquhoun 33), Murray, Neto, Ritchie (Graham 55). Subs: Pennycuick, Lawson, Innes, Erskine.