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Francesc Fabregas

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Everything posted by Francesc Fabregas

  1. Our Head of Media QTd the news about Euan O'Reilly's contract extension with: "There's a load more I'd love to be making this graphic for!" - with respect, I disagree! It's early days yet, but who would you want to have signed up for next season? I'd say Nicky Jamieson on a permanent contract, Robert Thomson, Ross Lyon, Adam Brown and Nat Wedderburn (and maybe Adam Corbett, the boy has something about him!) but other than that?
  2. Euan O'Reilly has signed a contract extension with the club, taking him up until the end of the 2022/23 season. This is a good piece of business - he's far and away our best player and someone who's brought razzamatazz and excitement to our attack. I'm hopeful this is the calibre of player we're able to go for when we start rebuilding the team in the summer.
  3. I walked out with about 25 minutes to go. That was the worst I've seen us play this season - I grossly underestimated Stranraer while grossly overestimating how good a team we are. The Blues leathered us - they were first to every ball, they out-fought us and they stopped us from getting any rhythm going - but we were dreadful all across the pitch. No width whatsoever, with all four wide players off their game, no muscle in the middle of the park and nothing up front. All we did was hook the ball forward whenever it came in our direction. Garbage. David Wilson was the villain yesterday and he'll had to take responsibility for the second and third goals with two rotten pieces of goalkeeping. I've had my doubts about him for a couple of weeks now and I don't think he's good enough for what we're looking for; being "better than Ryan Marshall" is a low, low bar. It worries me how poorly we've recruited in this area and I think we have to broaden our horizons rather than signing up dumplings who have played for BSC Glasgow. It's a damn shame as well, as we started the game very well and scored a lovely goal courtesy of Tam Orr. It was a lovely counter attack and it looked as though we'd go on to dominate but very quickly Stranraer got a grip of the game and we just couldn't get close. One of the most frustrating aspects of watching us at the moment is our clunky attempts to play the ball out from the back - with the best will in the world, Sean Crighton and Nicky Jamieson aren't good with the ball at their feet and watching them nervously passing the ball between them while no-one drops deep to offer an option is remarkable. If we want to play that way, Adam Corbett should be starting (and I appreciate he wasn't tremendous when he came on yesterday) otherwise we need to rethink our approach. I don't want to get hysterical but we need to see a massive improvement against Edinburgh City next weekend. We seemed to have put our miserable start to the season behind us but that was stinking and a quite concerning.
  4. After two consecutive defeats, a home match against a down-on-their-luck Stranraer side in spotty form presents us with a great opportunity to keep pace with the clubs in the top four. It should be noted, however, that our worst showing of the season came at Stair Park in September where a combination of dreadful application and managerial overthinking conspired to see us go down 2-0; it was a shameful afternoon and left a lot of people wondering if Stephen Swift was the right man to take us forward. Results since then have been broadly positive and although we lost the last two matches, I'd like to think that if we had our full complement of players to pick through, we'd have given a better go of things against Kelty Hearts and Airdrieonians. Players like Nat Wedderburn should be available after isolating through COVID-19 protocols while Mikey Miller, not risked against the Diamonds last weekend, should come back in. We're still light up top, although Tam Orr should be available and Robert Thomson can't be too far behind him now. How about we go with: - Ryan Tierney - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Darren Christie - - Nat Wedderburn - Mikey Miller - - Bernard Coll - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Ross Lyon - - Davie Wilson - I thought Ross Lyon was our best player against the Diamonds and he should retain his place at right-back. Miller could move into the middle of the park to partner Wedderburn, but I appreciate this means there is no place for Ross Forbes. Ryan Tierney is a weirdly semi-effective target man up top, but his lack of pressing is a frustration. It'll be interesting to see what the manager does here. I don't know too much about this Stranraer side, other than they're the kind of team we should be getting the better of if we're to get into the play-offs. I'd be disappointed with anything other than three points here, to be honest!
  5. Although we gave a decent account of ourselves, it was a routine assignment for Airdrieonians and they deserved to progress to the fourth round. We created little and beyond some interesting cross balls into the area here and there, the only effort of note I remember us having was a Ryan Tierney shot towards the end of the match that Max Currie beat away at his near post. It reminded me a lot of last week's game against Kelty Hearts - we played well in spells but the second goal killed off any chance we had of getting anything from it. Both goals were bad ones to concede on our part. The ball should have been closed down before it was worked over to Adam Frizzell (and someone behind me said: "that's in" before he even hit it) and Scott McGill's sclaffed effort looked a little shambolic, with defenders again failing to get tight to their men in the build up. I thought the ball had crossed the line but it's all immaterial now and it's not worth focusing on; it was hardly a game-defining moment. As I mentioned prior to the match, the most important thing was we made it through the 90 minutes without picking up any further injuries. Someone said Mikey Miller was 50/50 for the game but was rested for the Stranraer encounter next week. That was probably the sensible thing to do in the circumstances. There's not a lot to read into but I felt Ross Lyon was probably our best player and looked more comfortable at right-back than on the other side, Nicky Jamieson did well at the back and Euan O'Reilly showed some decent touches before dropping out of the game after the interval. Adam Corbett did his best in the middle of the park but I think a lack of match fitness and playing in an unfamiliar role got the better of him at times. Tierney's hold-up play was occasionally good - he has a low centre of gravity and a stocky build and worked the conditions well - but he's got little interest in pressing from the front. That said, he's probably a better option than Tam Orr at the moment. For all the talk of us having a big squad, take away a couple of players and the quality really drops off, as we've seen over the past two weeks. Airdrieonians were good without being great. Dylan Easton looked the part and I liked the way he dropped deep between the lines to cause mischief, and Rhys McCabe did well at the base of midfield. Other than that, it was an unremarkable game of football.
  6. I'm coming into this one with my expectations set quite lowly. Stenhousemuir are likely to have a number of important players missing through injury and COVID-19 protocols and I worry about the kind of team we'll be able to put out against Airdrieonians. If we start with Declan Hughes and Mikey Anderson in the middle of the park, we will be steamrollered. I think, in this instance, we might be better off seeing out this match and putting all of our efforts into the game against Stranraer at the start of December. But, then again, who knows what might happen!
  7. It turns out that today is the three-year anniversary of our 4-2 Scottish Cup win over Falkirk One of the best games I've ever been to. What a great laugh.
  8. Quick question for Kelty fans - why was Alfredo Agyeman preferred up front to Nathan Austin at the weekend?
  9. I was cautiously optimistic going into the game and thought we'd give Kelty Hearts a decent go but, as others have said, as soon as I learned Nat Wedderburn and Tam Orr were unavailable, I feared the worst. I thought we gave it a decent go but we were lacking in most departments, especially in midfield with a half-fit Ross Forbes and a half-fit Declan Hughes, and both goals came from errors in the centre of the pitch. Alfredo Agyeman's running caused us bother (and he'd be a smashing player if he had the finesse to go with his athleticism) and Michael Tidser, the game's star man, completely controlled things and there were times where we just couldn't get the ball from him. We weren't fantastic. Nicky Jamieson was our best player and did his best to keep tabs on Agyeman, as well as bailing on Sean Crighton a number of times. Euan O'Reilly and Ross Lyon had a couple of neat exchanges on the left and Adam Brown worked hard in an unfamiliar role up front. We sent a couple of balls across the face of goal but Darren Jamieson went largely untested. I thought we started the second half well but Joe Cardle's goal five minutes in killed us and there was little chance we would come back from it. (Did my eyes deceive me or did Davie Wilson dive before the shot was struck? It appeared as though he was jumping out of the way of the ball.) I don't want to be too hard on him because he wasn't at full fitness but Hughes was dreadful, unable to pass the ball coherently or keep up with opposition players as they ran past him. I was surprised to see him starting and even more surprised to see he was removed at the interval. I haven't seen anything from him to suggest he can cut it in the SPFL. With Wedderburn and Orr out for the next 10 days, Mikey Miller substituted with an injury and doubts over the fitness of Forbes, I think we're on a hiding to nothing against Airdrieonians next weekend. I think we'll just have to batten down the hatches for the time being and regroup for the game with Stranraer at the end of the month.
  10. Michael Garrity looked very good for the opening 20 minutes of the match between Stenhousemuir and Annan Athletic last weekend and he caused us problems down our right-hand side with his dainty feet. He then, however, fell out of the match and was rarely involved thereafter.
  11. It's the biggest game in the division on Saturday as league leaders Kelty Hearts welcome in-form Stenhousemuir to New Central Park. The last time the sides met, it finished 4-1 to Kelty as they took full advantage of some wretched Stenny defending and scored three goals on the counter, ably abetted by the dismal Ryan Marshall in goal. What's changed since then? Not much at Kelty - they're still battering through everyone who appears in their way and, even when they're not at their best, they're still finding ways to get the better of their opponents. At Stenny, meanwhile, Stephen Swift has found a starting XI that works and has largely stuck with it, while a number of players are in great form, like Euan O'Reilly, Nicky Jamieson and Nat Wedderburn. The Warriors have moved away from the bottom of the table and are now one of the sides in contention for a play-off place. I don't see any real reason to muck about and change things from the side that beat Annan Athletic at the weekend. Bernard Coll is probably pushing for a start but unless we're lacking in bodies to play in midfield, we should keep Ross Lyon at left-back for the time being. I don't think Declan Hughes adds anything to the team and I'd be minded to keep him out of the starting XI between now and the date his contract expires. There isn't much difference between Darren Christie and Cammy Graham, with both players having their positives and their drawbacks. I don't think we'd lose anything by swapping in Ryan Tierney for Tam Orr up top either - Orr didn't make much of an impression last time out and Tierney might give us something different, although the word "might" is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. Providing everyone's fit and available, let's go with: - Ryan Tierney - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Darren Christie - - Nat Wedderburn - Ross Forbes - - Ross Lyon - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Mikey Miller - - Davie Wilson - I'm fully expecting us not to win the game. Kelty have a firm grip on this league and every side seems inferior by comparison - but they're going to have to lose at some point, so it might as well be to us on Saturday, baby!
  12. Fair play to yer da for trying to compare Laurie Ellis at Queen's Park to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
  13. Not really, no. We signed Aidan McIlduff in 2019 after an unremarkable spell at Berwick Rangers but he didn't make much of (or any?) impression during his time at Stenhousemuir. He played in our League Cup group stages and made two early league appearances but picked up an injury in the second game of the season at Queen's Park and just didn't get back into the team. His last appearance was in early September 2019 in the Challenge Cup against The New Saints. By that point, Scott McLaughlin, nominally a central midfielder, was playing at left-back instead. Apparently his heart wasn't in the game after he left Celtic. I understand he was quite highly rated during his days as a youth player but that promise didn't materialise into anything tangible after he was moved on and he's had a pretty mediocre career ever since.
  14. That was a hard-fought but well-deserved three points today. The first 45 minutes were a struggle, with Annan Athletic pegging us back and keeping us inside our own half for uncomfortable periods, but we were streets ahead in the second half. We created a number of good openings, scored a fine goal to give us a cushion, rode out Annan's brief resurgence (a period in which Davie Wilson made a supreme save to stop Tommy Goss' goal-bound header), and saw the game out to its conclusion. That's now five consecutive victories, our best run of form since 2008 - the manager, his staff and the players deserve a huge amount of credit for how they've turned the season around. A number of players stood out today. Nicky Jamieson is one of the most meat-and-tatties defenders I've seen at Ochilview but it does not matter a jot when he gets his big napper of every single ball punted in his general direction! His centre-back partner, Sean Crighton, also played well and dealt with Annan's limited attack. Nat Wedderburn dominated things in the middle of the park, especially after the interval, and it's always great fun watching using his big arse to barge opponents out of the way then hit a long diagonal with his left peg. The best player on the park, however, was Euan O'Reilly. He was a little subdued in the first half but, almost immediately from the restart, he lit up the match, skinning Charlie Barnes time and again before capping his performance with a lovely goal. He's the most exciting player I've seen at the club since we had Paul McMullan on loan in 2015. Every time he gets on the ball, there's a feeling that something is going to happen. Long may it continue! There are still a couple of grumbles - the lack of presence in attack without Robert Thomson, Declan Hughes' ineffectual presence - but this was such an important victory. Had we lost, Annan would have moved seven points ahead of us and the top four would have seen miles away. Now, we're right in amongst it and not far off Forfar Athletic in second. I don't expect much from next week's encounter with Kelty Hearts but we're playing well and I hope we can give them a good game. Finally, it was great to see Colin McMenamin in the Wee Bar after the match. One of my all-time favourite Warriors and someone who has a great relationship with the club.
  15. Can Stenhousemuir win five games in a row for the first time since 1998 against Annan Athletic tomorrow? I think they have a decent chance! The Warriors have looked pretty handy over the past couple of weeks, turning in their best performance of the season against Stirling Albion last weekend and getting the better of a stolid Albion Rovers side on Tuesday night (Cammy Binnie: thank you). We've beaten Annan Athletic earlier in the season but, let's be honest, that was not a match Annan should have lost. Their league form took a bit of a tumble but they seem have got their act back together with four points from the past two games. They're obviously not a side to be trifled with and have some smashing players but I'd like to think we can keep our run going. I'm tempted to make a couple of changes to the side that beat the Rovers earlier in the week. Does Ross Lyon deserve to lose his place at left-back? Is Ross Forbes fit enough to start? I'd maybe replace Darren Christie with Cammy Graham, but both players seem to be better coming off the bench but other than that, let's go with: - Tam Orr - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Cammy Graham - - Nat Wedderburn - Ross Forbes - - Ross Lyon - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Mikey Miller - - Davie Wilson - I'd be disappointed if we didn't win this, to be honest, but I know what happens when I get my hopes up - they get trampled into the ground!
  16. I've just watched the match highlights and I'll say this: Cammy Binnie - thank you!
  17. That was great fun tonight. An absorbing match between two decent sides and that, crucially, Stenhousemuir emerged victorious. It's now four wins on the bounce and every one of them has been thoroughly deserved. Other than a spell midway through the first half, Albion Rovers didn't cause us too much bother, with only the rangy Charlie Reilly a menace during this period and I thought we had the better of the play and the chances, if only slightly. We started at an incredible tempo, moving the ball around with pace and closing down the opposition in packs whenever we lost it. Euan O'Reilly's goal was very well taken (I thought he'd made the angle too wide to shoot when he took the ball onto his left foot) but after that, was seemed to slacken and allowed the Rovers to take a foothold. Their goal, 15 minutes after ours, came when Mikey Miller seemed to get his footing all wrong and let Reilly breeze past him down the left flank and into the box. It looked as though Reilly as being fouled by Miller as he strode in on goal, and I reckon a penalty would have been given if he hadn't scored. Rovers had a good chance to score when Max Wright connected with a ball across the face of goal but Davie Wilson made a superb save to block with his foot. The match swung irrevocably in our favour when we made the double substitution before the hour mark, with Ross Lyon and Darren Christie making way for Bernard Coll and Cammy Graham. Lyon wasn't playing well, wasn't offering O'Reilly the support a left-footed player might do and was giving away some daft fouls, while Christie had made no real impression on the game. The change worked immediately, with Coll crossing for Graham to slam home his first league goal of the season (the less said about the Rovers defending here, the better). We put the game beyond any doubt with nine minutes remaining when Cammy Binnie somehow allowed Sean Crighton's header to squirm over the line. There was a lot to like about today's performance. O'Reilly played well and was a perpetual threat all evening (and some of his defensive work was outstanding too - there was a moment in the first half where he lost the ball then sprinted back 50 yards to toe it away from his opponent inside the box), Nat Wedderburn dominated the middle of the park and Nicky Jamieson, after a wobbly opening, settled into the game and won every header. There are still some issues with this team, particularly in attack where Tam Orr turned in an ineffectual display, and I am pining for the return of Robert Thomson. Until then, however, you have to say a hearty "fair play!" to Stephen Swift and his team because the last couple of days have been a lot of fun.
  18. Nicky Jamieson had a bit of a shaky start with us an seemed to be making game-defining mistakes on a regular basis but over the last few weeks, he's been excellent - he's just a big lump, someone who'll header balls all day long, and always seems to be in the right place at the right to get his big dome on the end of it. His distribution can he a bit suspect but who cares when he's just a very good stopper?
  19. Having watched back the highlights, Stirling's defending throughout the match is dreadful. Adam Cummins completely loses his bearings at the first goal, thumping the ball into his own net, and the time and space afforded to Tam Orr and Darren Christie for the second and third was criminal! Both strikes were very well taken, but still. (And Sean Crighton didn't cover himself in glory for Dylan Bikey's consolation, switching off and allowing the forward to move into space ahead of him. He can he a good defender, the captain, but he's often prone to a howler every other game.)
  20. This could be a tasty match. Both sides come into this encounter after thumping victories at the weekend and both sets of players should be full of beans. Albion Rovers, of course, are our bogey side and I'm never confident going into our meetings with them but, if we're able to play with the same dig and tempo as we did against Stirling Albion yesterday, we have a decent chance. I wasn't at the last meeting between the sides but it seemed as though we had a very good spell in the second half, scored twice, failed to kill off the game, and conceded an equaliser at the death. Have we turned the corner? There's only one way to find out! There is no reason to alter the formation or personnel after Saturday's showing: - Tam Orr - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Darren Christie - - Nat Wedderburn - Ross Forbes - - Ross Lyon - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Mikey Miller - - Davie Wilson - I'm very much looking forward to this match. I don't want to get too ahead of myself but I'll be disappointed if we don't take something from it.
  21. The first half was quite comfortably the best 45 minutes of football we've seen from Stephen Swift's side so far this season. I thought we were dogged and determined, we won every second ball, we moved it around well, and we created a number of good chances throughout. If this is what Swiftball is supposed to look like... sign me up right now! The second half was a little trickier, as was to be expected, and although I was disappointed with the goal we conceded, we stuck in and did what we needed to do. A thoroughly deserved three points and, hopefully, the platform for this team to kick on and motor up the table. There were no failures in the Stenny side today, with everyone putting a good shift in, but special mention to Ross Lyon (who mopped up everything in his weird left-back-cum-sweeper role), Nicky Jamieson (who won everything in the air and kept Stirling Albion from getting in behind us) and Nat Wedderburn (who strolled through the match). It's also worth giving Tam Orr a shout out - I thought he might struggle against the Binos' big defenders and we'd fail to stick the ball up top but he really did well as the side's focal point. He should have scored more, of course, and his unwillingness to use his left peg cost him his brace towards the end, but it would be churlish to get too worked up about it. Stirling Albion weren't very good, something that surprised me. Why isn't everything going through Marc Laird and Jack Leitch? Why was Nathan Flanagan on the bench? Why was Darren Christie given so much time and space throughout the first half? The club's hospitality is excellent, however, so fair play to everyone associated for that. Bring on Albion Rovers!
  22. That's why I wrote "might just be getting their act together"! We won't know how far we've progressed unless we have another go against one of the better sides in the division. I'm sceptical myself but I'm looking forward to the weekend all the same!
  23. This has the makings of an entertaining encounter between the FK postcode's premium sides. Stirling Albion are in very good form just now and haven't lost a match since the middle of August, while Stenhousemuir might just be getting their act together under Stephen Swift, having recorded back-to-back wins over Cowdenbeath and Huntly. The last meeting between the sides on the opening game of the season was a stuffy affair, with only Martin McNiff's separating the sides, but I think this could be a bit more fun. The worry for the Warriors is we lack a real threat up top without Robert Thomson (I'm still not convinced by Tam Orr in the lone striker role) and we don't really have anyone in midfield to protect the defence - I think someone like Jack Leitch could get break forward and get in behind us and cause us bother. That said, we have attacking threats of our own in Euan O'Reilly and Adam Brown and both players can ask questions of the Binos' backline. We now have something close to a regular starting XI. Depending on who's available, I'd like to see us go with: - Tam Orr - - Euan O'Reilly - Adam Brown - Ross Forbes - - Nat Wedderburn - James Lyon - - Ross Lyon - Sean Crighton - Nicky Jamieson - Michael Miller - - Davie Wilson - I'm not 100 per cent convinced by James Lyon but I think he's streets ahead of Declan Hughes and Mikey Anderson. I'd love to take something from this match (and a win here would be a real "statement of intent" from Swift) but I am fearing the worst and expect Stirling to beat us by the odd goal.
  24. The club have posted some injury updates on social media: Robert Thomson will be absent for between six and eight weeks with ligament damage Graeme Smith has had a setback in his recovery and won't be available until December The lesser-spotted Jon Craig is out for a further three weeks with a broken collarbone Jordan Tapping is unavailable, awaiting further assessment We had all anticipated that Thomson would be out until mid-to-late December, but that still doesn't make it any easier. A huge loss to the team.
  25. We have been drawn against Airdrieonians at home in the Scottish Cup third round. This is one of the least interesting draws we could have asked for.
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