Preview | Stirling Albion (H)

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We kick-off a double header against Stirling Albion this weekend, with league points up for grabs at Balmoral Stadium before the Scottish Cup third round encounter on the 25th.

Given the international break, and the truncated fixture list, we are hoping for a bumper crowd, and fans are urged to buy their tickets in advance at THIS LINK

The sides last met at the end of September live on BBC Alba, a thrilling encounter which saw Connor Scully rescue a point in stoppage time. Since that 2-2 draw, the team has embarked on a five game unbeaten run, and vice-captain Fraser Fyvie says he hopes to build on that momentum:

“There’s no doubt that there is a different feeling around the stadium right now; when you’re winning that is bound to have an effect, and from that feelgood factor, the confidence grows and grows.

“When you’re in that mindset you start to have more belief in yourself, and Tuesday night was a perfect example of that. Although we weren’t at our best against Montrose, we never looked panicky when we gave up possession, everyone just stuck to their tasks, and we got the job done.

“We are as comfortable off the ball at the moment as we are on it, and that’s a really good place to be. If we maintain that, I see no reason why we cannot keep the run going.”

The winning sequence has been based on a solid defensive base, as evidenced by the four straight 1-0 victories, and Fraser is keen to highlight the contribution of his team-mates:

“I do have to give praise to our back line, they have been excellent during this run. We have a good structure, and while I got man of the match against Montrose, I really do think Will Gillingham deserved the award.”

“I don’t think the big man has had enough praise; the last four or five games he has been outstanding. It’s been tough for him coming across from New Zealand, and having played college football in the States, but he’s settled in so well; I thought on Tuesday he was brave, attacked everything in the air and proved how good a defender he is.

“Mark Reynolds has been a big help I’m sure, he has over six hundred games under his belt, and they’re starting to build a really good partnership. In fact, that’s happening all over the pitch, and that’s been a huge factor in our rise up the table.”

Paul Hartley has been delighted with the resent resurgence, and the manager says it is payback for everything the squad and management have been doing following the close season upheaval:

“Overall, we are now reaping the rewards of all the hard work put in since the summer.

“It was a tough start for us, we all know that, and there was a lot of negativity flying around, but we believed in what we were doing, and I think everyone can now see the quality we have in the squad.”

“The challenge for us is to keep that going.”

“We move on to Stirling Albion, and that will be another tough game. Darren Young has done a good job there, getting his side up a division and proving competitive in League One.

“We scored late to get a draw down there earlier in the season, and of course we’ll be at Forthbank next week for the Scottish Cup tie. For now, we’re fully focused on getting three more points and it will take another strong performance to achieve that.”

Paul will have Mitch Megginson available again after the skipper missed the win over Montrose through illness; he played a full part in Thursday night’s training session, but Cameron Stewart will be absent following his call-up to the Northern Ireland under-21 squad.

Supporters planning on coming along to Balmoral Stadium can secure their tickets HERE

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