Spartans aim to keep upper hand on East Stirlingshire
DAVID GREENHILL is confident Spartans can maintain their blemish-free record against his former club East Stirlingshire tomorrow as they look to halt a seven-match winless streak.
Dougie Samuel’s side have won three and drawn their two previous encounters with the Ochilview men since the Falkirk outfit suffered relegation from the SPFL and were replaced by Edinburgh City.
Midfielder Greenhill, who spent three years at Shire prior to joining Spartans in the summer of 2015, is relishing another close battle with his former employers.
“East Stirling is a good wee club and I have a lot of happy memories from time there,” the 33-year-old said ahead of the first meeting between the teams this season.
“When I left, we were struggling to compete financially with the other sides in League Two and if you don’t eventually spend some money then you’re going to suffer as a result, and sadly that’s what happened.
“I think they were expecting to bounce straight back up, but that’s not been the case. They’ve had to build a new team from scratch and seem to be slowly getting back on track now.
“Games against them are usually pretty tight affairs and there’s always a bit of rivalry there. We’ve drawn a couple of times, but they haven’t managed to beat us since they dropped down into the Lowland League.
“Their main striker, Ross (Allum), obviously used to play for Spartans and he’s been enjoying a bit of a purple patch in front of goal recently, so we know his qualities. We’ll try to nullify that because he’ll be desperate to score against his old team-mates.”
Greenhill knows that picking up maximum points would be a massive boost to the reigning champions who have endured a dismal run of results, which has seen them tumble to sixth place in the table.
Their last victory came against Whitehill Welfare in early September, but Greenhill believes a win is just around the corner.
He said: “I don’t think we’ve been playing that poorly, we’ve just been making too many individual mistakes and ultimately it has cost us goals and several points.
“We prided ourselves on keeping clean sheets, but it hasn’t happened for us so far this term.
“We’ve been unlucky in some recent games where things maybe haven’t fallen our way.
“We’ve not scored enough at the top end of the pitch either compared to last year, so the boys are a bit low on confidence and just need a little spark to get us going again.
“When players are short on confidence they can sometimes focus too much on their own game rather than focusing on what’s best for the team and helping others round about them.
“We’re quite an experienced group of players, so we just need to ride this storm out and get ourselves back in the mix.
“Losing Jack Smith against BSC last Saturday to a torn hamstring is a huge blow as he’s one of our main goal threats. It’s likely he’ll be out until after the new year, but, it’s up to guys like Stephen (MacDonald) and Jason (Stevens) now to grab the bull by the horns and try to nail down a starting spot.
“They’ve got plenty of time to impress and show the manager what they’re capable of.”
Elsewhere, mid-table Civil Service Strollers welcome Gretna 2008 to Christie Gillies Park, buoyed by their late smash-and-grab victory over Whitehill last weekend.