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Elgin City preview

Any other week and Aiden Gilmartin would be hoping for a victory for a team in black and white stripes.

Tomorrow, the on-loan St Mirren frontman will be firmly hoping Elgin City are on the losing side when they travel to Stair Park.

The striker returned to training this week after missing a handful of games through injury.

He said: “From what I have seen, we have got a good team but it is just luck.

“If you turn up on the day, you will get three points.

“We just need to keep making that gap bigger between ourselves and Clyde and then it becomes set in stone.

“You need to follow momentum and that is football – you win one game and it can follow on.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed, we can start some sort of run.

“The last few weeks have been boring for myself because I am in on a Saturday training, doing rehab, and you’re constantly looking at results.

“It is not the same because you are watching it rather than playing.”

The injury has prevented the striker from building on his three appearances for Stranraer.

Gilmartin said: “It has just been my abductor, my groin.

“It has just been repetitive hitting the ball and my groin has given way a wee bit.

“It has just been a couple of weeks out to let it heal, get the strength back in it and then should be fine now.

Gilmartin started against Bonnyrigg Rose before picking up an unfortunate injury

“Your main goal is to go out and play.

“I started against Bonnyrigg Rose and then a couple of weeks later I am injured and cannot play.

“It sets you back a wee bit but that is football at the end of the day and you need to take things that come at you.”

The teenager was at Stair Park for the midweek win over Dumbarton and then made the journey for last weekend’s trip and, ultimately, defeat to Peterhead.

He felt the two results highlighted the up and down nature of the league.

Gilmartin said: “Fingers crossed, we can get a win.

“You never know in this league because it is so unpredictable.

“You can beat Dumbarton 5-0 and then it just changes every week.

“You just don’t know but fingers crossed the boys turn up on Saturday and it is three points.”

The 18-year-old spent time on loan at East Kilbride earlier in the campaign, where he played alongside now Stranraer defender Chris McQueen.

Despite the lack of familiar faces in the home dressing room at Stair Park, Gilmartin has had no issues in settling in.

He said: “It is hard coming in but the way I look at it is that it is football.

“Everybody does the same thing – you kick the ball and you chase after it.”

Last meeting

The new year began with defeat for Stranraer, who handed debuts to Chris McQueen and Chris Johnston.

The visitors had started promisingly at Borough Briggs and Thomas McHale had already denied James Dolan before Kyle Girvan headed just wide of the post.

The opener came when some last gasp defending denied Dolan but Deryn Lang took no chances and forced the ball over the line from close range.

Elgin improved after going behind and Craig Ross had to clear an effort off the line.

The game changed after the break when Elgin were awarded a controversial spot kick. Robert Jones and Lewis Budinauckas challenged for the ball and the referee pointed to the spot.

Russell Dingwall squeezed it beyond the goalkeeper and Elgin were awarded a second penalty late on. Dayshonne Golding went down in the box and Liam Harvey netted.

Elgin City: McHale, Cooper, Dolzanski, McKenzie, Draper, Ewan, Dingwall, Cameron, Jones (Harvey 80), Golding, Jamieson (Taylor 73).
Not used: Booth, Cairns, MacEwan, MacInnes, McLeman, Barron, Lawrence and King.

Stranraer: Budinauckas, Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont, Robertson (Hawkshaw 75), Dolan, Forrest, Johnston (Fleming 66), Grant, Lang (Orr 66).
Not used: Williamson, Walker, Strachan, McDonald and Downie.

Last five meetings

  • Elgin City 2 Stranraer 1 (Dingwall (Pen) and Harvey (Pen); Lang) at Borough Briggs on January 6, 2024
  • Stranraer 3 Elgin City 1 (Forrest (Pen), Grant and Dolan; Jones) at Stair Park on November 4, 2023
  • Elgin City 0 Stranraer 1 (Dolan) at Borough Briggs on August 5, 2023
  • Stranraer 3 Elgin City 1 (Forrest, Grant and Walker; Reid) at Stair Park on April 22, 2023
  • Elgin City 0 Stranraer 1 (Robertson) at Borough Briggs on February 18, 2023

Last five games

A goal blitz against Dumbarton sent fans home happy last Tuesday evening

Stranraer

  • LOSS v Peterhead (A): 2-0
  • WIN v Dumbarton (H): 5-0 (Own goal, Grant, Forrest, Armour and Lang)
  • DRAW v Forfar Athletic (H): 0-0
  • LOSS v Dumbarton (A): 2-1 (Ross)
  • LOSS v Spartans (H): 1-2 (Orr)

Elgin City

  • WIN v Bonnyrigg Rose (H): 1-0 (Dangana)
  • LOSS v Clyde (A): 2-1 (Dolzanski)
  • DRAW v Peterhead (A): 1-1 (Golding)
  • DRAW v Stenhouse (H): 2-2 (Dingwall (Pen) and Cameron)
  • WIN v Spartans (A): 1-2 (Gallagher and Taylor)

Last time out

The Blues had a tough afternoon up at Balmoor last weekend

Stranraer

Lineup v Peterhead: Budinauckas, Girvan, Ross, McQueen, Ecrepont (Williamson 73), Robertson, Forrest, Fleming (Orr 71), Johnston (Dolan 58), Grant, Armour (Lang 58).
Not used: McIntosh, Gallagher, Miller and Downie.

Elgin City

Lineup v Bonnyrigg Rose: McHale, Booth, Cairns, Draper, Ewan, Gallagher, Dingwall (McLeman 89), Cameron, Golding (Bray 86), Dangana (Jamieson 89), Jeffreys (Jones 68).
Not used: Cooper and Kelly.

Five facts

Grant Gallagher is poised to make his 300th appearance for the Blues

1. Elgin City’s matchwinner last weekend Michael Dangana is the younger brother of former Stranraer loanee David Dangana. David spent six months on loan at Stranraer in 2019 and found the net on two occasions. His first goal came against Raith Rovers when Stranraer won 3-2 at Stair Park. Connor McManus opened the scoring for the Blues before Michael Miller and Brad Spencer put the visitors 2-1 up with 20 minutes to play. Dangana levelled the scores with seven minutes left and Cameron Elliott scored the winner just two minutes later. The home team that day was: Burgess, Allan, Cummins, Hamilton, Pignatiello (I Smith 72), Hamill, Robertson (D Smith 89), McManus, Murphy, Elliott, Dangana. Not used: Adair, Mitchell and Currie.

2. Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the 61st birthday of former Stranraer man Tony Gallagher. He spent six years with Albion Rovers before making the move south and joining Stranraer. He spent nine years at Stair Park and clocked up more than 200 appearances. He joined the club in 1988 and left in 1997.

3. There have been 17 league meetings between Stranraer and Elgin City at Stair Park. Only one, in February 2008, has ever finished goalless.

4. Stranraer and Elgin City have faced each other once in both the Scottish Cup and the League Cup, with the Blues taking glory in both.

5. Grant Gallagher would make his 300th appearance for Stranraer if he steps onto the pitch at Stair Park tomorrow. Team-mate Scott Robertson has now passed 360 appearances for the club. However, both have some way to go if they are to match Elgin’s Brian Cameron. The 32-year-old made his debut at home to Stenhousemuir in April 2008. Since then, he has been a regular in the black and white stripes and is now just three appearances short of the 500 mark for the club.

Admission

Admission at Stair Park is on a ‘pay at the gate’ basis, with pricing as follows:

  • Adult – £15
  • Concession – £10
  • 5 to 16 Years Old – £5
  • Under 5 – FREE

A range of Stranraer FC merchandise is available at the back of the main McLeans Taxis stand, and the Pavilion Bar at the ground provides a warm welcome for both home and away supporters from 1pm.

You can support the club by picking up a 50/50 draw ticket along with your teamsheet at the turnstile.

Coverage

Blues supporters far and wide can now access a variety of extra coverage and content via our Club 1870 subscription service

We’re back in business with full coverage of Saturday’s home game against Elgin City.

As ever, you can follow live matchday updates on X (formerly Twitter) for the latest news throughout the afternoon.

The manager’s interview will be available on YouTube during the evening, and Club 1870 subscribers can watch the goals before midnight and an exclusive reaction from a player post-match.

Our popular extended highlights package will follow on Sunday morning, with full match footage available via Club 1870 on Sunday afternoon.

You can subscribe to Club 1870 for exclusive content, podcasts, prizes and much more.

Photos: Bill McCandlish