Lowland League Preview: East Stirlingshire (H)

The Lowland League is finally back! We host East Stirlingshire in the opener this Saturday for the third consecutive season. 

After finishing last season in second place and winning the Lowland League Cup in a tightly contested final with our visitors on Saturday, the boys will be going into the season with a degree of confidence. Add to that the fact that we have retained the services of key players from last season, things are looking positive.

Of the players who have moved on, most of them were loan deals which don’t last forever! Our Young Player of the Year Carlo Pignatiello recently signed on loan with Stranraer, Euan O’Reilly has headed to Airdrieonians for a brief spell, Cammy Ballantyne returned to St Johnstone and Ben Quigley will be a visitor to the Indodrill this season after signing on with University of Stirling as a scholar. 

Not to worry though! Swifty has made some astute signings to close the gap. First up we’ve got Michael Anderson who joins from last year’s League winners East Kilbride and will join an already impressive midfield. Next is Ricky Miller who’ll join up with the back line after spending last season with Gala Fairydean Rovers. We’ve also brought in Simon White, East Stirlingshire’s Young Player of the Year from last season who’ll also take his place in the middle of the pitch, and winger Jamie Hamilton who joins from Petershill.

Even in the dugout, there are changes that will have an impact for the boys in yellow this season. After a fantastic spell in coaching roles, Michael Moore and Richie Salveta have decided to leave the club. Taking their place is a former Stranraer, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock man in Frazer Wright who immediately takes up the Assistant Coach role. Meanwhile, our very own Club Captain Ross McMillan will step up to a player/coach role. 

Now… onto our first opponents for the 2019/20 Lowland League campaign, East Stirlingshire! 

Last season, the two clubs shared the spoils on the opening day of the season thanks to a late Tom Orr equaliser. We then had to wait until the final day of the campaign to meet them again, and it was BSC that came out on top in a 2-1 victory. 

However, this season’s Shire is a different breed to last. Derek Ure’s men have cracked out the chequebook and brought in some interesting signings such as Nicky Low from Queen of the South, Dumbarton duo Bobby Barr and Willie Dyer, plus major captures from clubs in the Lowland League. Jamie Dishington comes in from Spartans, former Cumbernauld Colts talisman Sean Brown has joined as well as Matty Flynn from soon-to-be-renamed Edusport Academy. 

Shire have lost their fair share of players though. Ross Allum, Chris McKee, Graeme McGregor and Fraser Neave have all moved on and Stephen Swift will no doubt be encouraging his boys to call on last season’s results and pull a victory out the bag to kick-start yet another fantastic season.