L30 Arbroath W

STEVIE Farrell has dismissed the idea that tomorrow’s clash with Arbroath is “a free hit” for the hosts.

Dick Campbell’s men are edging ever closer to wrapping up the League One title and promotion to the Championship.

Many neutrals will be expecting an away win, with Stranraer sitting just four points above the drop zone and, in the view of some, little to lose in tomorrow’s match.

However, Farrell said: “It is not a free hit.

“We go into the game like any other game and we believe we can win it, be competitive and we are looking forward to it.

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“It is our next game, therefore, it is the most important one.

“It is the next game and that is all we can focus on.”

The manager said both teams knew how the other liked to play and would be hoping to cause the other problems over the 90 minutes at Stair Park.

Farrell is likely to be missing four members of his first team squad though, with long-term absentees Chris McGowan, Ian Smith and Mark Lamont all still unavailable.

The manager added: “It is the same team news as last week but Adam Cummins is struggling.

“I don’t think he is going to make it tomorrow and could be out for two weeks.”

The absence of the 26-year-old is a blow for the Blues, who kept their first clean sheet of 2019 last weekend with Cummins at the heart of the Stranraer defence.

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The 1-0 victory at Stenhousemuir edged Farrell’s men away from their opponents at the bottom of the table.

The Stranraer boss was delighted with the result at Ochilview and said: “It was a great result and it was one I thought we thoroughly deserved.

“The performance was disciplined.

“It was good when we needed to go forward and we did that with intensity and purpose.

“In the defence, it was disciplined.

“When I got to Ochilview, I did not hold out much hope that the game would be on (because of the weather).

“I want to pay tribute to the Stenhousemuir community and our own fans.

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“Some of them – like Bill McCandlish and Shaun Niven – were on the pitch with shovels to clear it.

“All those that helped, I obviously have to thank because it went a long way to a good afternoon.”

Off the field, it has been a busy week for the Blues as well.

Farrell signed a new two-year deal, which should extend his stay until 2021 at least, while Stuart Millar announced he would leave by the end of the season.

On the new contract, Farrell was “delighted” to remain in the Stair Park hot seat.

He said: “I think it just tells everybody and settles the landscape in terms of moving forward with the club.

“The club has shown me a lot of commitment and I have shown the club a lot of commitment and I think we work well together.

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“Since I came to the club, I have tried to do the best we can at our disposal and we will continue to work hard this season to stay in League One and go and build from there thereafter.”

Farrell and Millar had worked together at Dumbarton before Farrell returned to Stair Park in January 2017.

The manager paid tribute to Millar’s “excellent” work and said: “We have had a great two years and he took up the mantle of director of football this season.

“He has worked tirelessly and brought some great young players to the club.

“He goes with nothing but my best wishes.

“He is a good friend and I wish him every success.”

Last meeting
Arbroath 1-1 Stranraer
12 February 2019

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A SECOND half strike from Kyle Turner gave Stranraer a point in a midweek clash at Gayfield Park.

Stranraer had initially travelled north to Arbroath only for the game to be abandoned with just 12 minutes on the clock. The team was back in Angus a few days later and made the trip worthwhile with Turner’s equaliser.

The travelling fans thought they had been given the perfect start to the game when Innes Cameron raced onto Turner’s through ball. The striker went down under a challenge from goalkeeper Darren Jamieson but referee Craig Napier penalised Cameron for diving.

Instead, the hosts would take the lead when Bobby Linn slotted between Max Currie’s legs.

However, Stranraer kept pushing with Joao Victoria denied against his old club before the equaliser came midway through the second half. Jamieson managed to keep out Grant Anderson’s powerful header but Turner was lurking to smash home the rebound.

Stranraer very nearly found a late winner but Adam Cummins’ header was cleared off the line as the game ticked into stoppage time.

Arbroath: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Gold, Kader (Donnelly 61), McKenna, Spence (McCord 74), Swankie (Wallace 73), Linn.
Not used: Denholm, Whatley, Doris and Hill.

Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, Brownlie, D Smith (O’Keefe 61), Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, Anderson (Lamont 89), Cameron (Elliott 80), Vitoria.
Not used: Avci.

Last five meetings

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Arbroath 1 Stranraer 1 (Linn; Turner) at Gayfield Park on February 12, 2019
Arbroath 0 Stranraer 1 (I Smith) at Gayfield Park on November 24, 2018
Stranraer 0 Arbroath 1 (OG Cummins) at Stair Park on October 27, 2018
Arbroath 3 Stranraer 1 (Little, McKenna and Wallace; Donnelly) at Gayfield Park on August 11, 2018
Arbroath 2 Stranraer 3 (Kader and Swankie; Okoh, Anderson and Agnew (P)) at Gayfield Park on March 24, 2018

Last five games

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WIN v Stenhousemuir (A): 0-1 (Cameron)
LOSS v East Fife (A): 3-1 (Turner)
DRAW v Raith Rovers (H): 2-2 (Turner and Victoria)
DRAW v Stenhousemuir (H): 1-1 (D Smith)
WIN v Brechin City (A): 1-2 (Cameron and Hamill)


WIN v East Fife (H): 2-1 (McKenna and Linn)
LOSS v Stenhousemuir (H): 0-2
LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-0
DRAW v East Fife (A): 1-1 (Donnelly)
WIN v Airdrieonians (H): 3-2 (Linn x3 (Px2))

Last time out

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Stranraer lineup v Stenhousemuir: Currie, Brownlie, D Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, McCann, Anderson, Cameron, Victoria (O’Keefe 80).
Not used: McDonald, Elliott, Crossan and Avci.

Arbroath lineup v East Fife: Jamieson, Thomson, Hamilton, Little, O’Brien, Whatley, Gold (Kader 67), McKenna, Donnelly (Spence 70), Swankie (Wallace 80), Linn.
Not used: McCord, Denholm, Doris and Hill.

Gavin Ross

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A TRIP to Ochilview in November represented the last time Gavin Ross took charge of a Stranraer game.

On that occasion, second half strikes from Grant Anderson and PJ Crossan were enough to give the Blues a 2-0 win, with Alan Cook sent off for the hosts.

Technically speaking, the last time Mr Ross ventured to Stair Park was on October 21, 2017. However, the weather was the winner that day with the game abandoned before half time. Scott Agnew had cancelled out Lewis Vaughan’s opener but all the record books will show is ‘abandoned’.

Instead, the last time Mr Ross was at Stair Park and the match went the distance was just a month or so earlier. Airdrie were the visitors that day but the home side emerged victorious. Grant Anderson scored twice, with Agnew also finding the net from the penalty spot. Willis Furtado found the net for the Diamonds, with Scott Robertson sent off for the Blues.

Mr Ross has also taken charge of one Arbroath contest this campaign and that came at the beginning of September. Brechin City were the visitors to Gayfield Park on that occasion and it was the home side who raced into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Jason Thomson and Bobby Linn had Arbroath on their way to three points but Andy Jackson’s quickfire second half double meant both sides left with a point.

You need to go back to October 2017 for the last time Mr Ross was in the middle of an away game involving Arbroath. Bobby Linn also scored that day but his former side, East Fife, would emerge 3-1 winners, thanks to a Chris Duggan double and a goal from current Stranraer man Mark Lamont.

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

We're back at Stair Park on Tuesday night to face Brechin City.

Kickoff is 7.45pm, and normal league entry prices apply.

L31a Brechin social W 

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16

2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID/STR)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Ryan Stevenson (STR)
10 - Denny Johnstone (STR)
11 - Joao Victoria (MID/STR)

12 - Carlo Pignatiello (DEF/MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID/STR)
16 - Lewis McIntyre (DEF)
20 - Jordan Ross (MID)

21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)