Midfielder Mackenzie Strachan is determined to grab any chance given to him.
The teenager has been used mostly as a substitute since arriving on loan from Rangers in the middle of September.
He has been patient and working hard in training knowing that when the opportunity arises he needs to be ready.
The 19-year-old said: “When I came to the first session, I was, and I’m not afraid to say this, I was surprised by how good it was.
“Everyone was really, really good and I said to the gaffer that the standard was amazing in training.
“Obviously, I am looking to try to get in the team but it is not going to be easy and I know that.
“I just need to try to take my chance whenever I get it.”
Tomorrow’s visitors Stenhousemuir moved joint top of the table with a 2-0 win over Peterhead during the week.
The Blues sit 11 points adrift of the Warriors but will be hoping to claw back some ground on the teams above them and edge closer to the play-off places.
The one meeting between the two sides this campaign was decidedly one-sided with Gary Naysmith’s men winning 5-0.
Strachan, who made his Stranraer debut the following weekend, said: “It would be brilliant to get a result.
“Obviously, I was not there the last time we played them but I heard it was not great.
“We will be looking to, hopefully, better that and take all three points at home.”
December brings with it five games for Stranraer and the chance to clock up some points.
As well as trips to Forfar, Clyde and Spartans, the Blues have home contests against Bonnyrigg Rose and Dumbarton as they look to mount a play-off challenge.
However, things could have been very different for Strachan if he had not gone out on loan.
Strachan, who grew up in Turnberry, said: “Rangers were in the Lowland League for the last two years and it was good because it was competitive football against men.
“I played a lot of minutes in that – most games – but then they pulled out of that and it is just friendlies.
“It is a good programme to be involved in but there are no competitive games.
“The standard of opposition is really good and I think in December the fixtures are looking like Real Betis, Brentford B, Nottingham Forest and someone else.
“They are all high calibre games but they are all friendlies as well.
“At Stranraer, you are playing for three points and with lads who are desperate to win for the club.”
September’s trip to Ochilview Park proved one to forget for Stranraer.
Matty Aitken opened the scoring from the penalty spot for the hosts and they were 2-0 up when Gregor Buchanan smashed home after Nat Wedderburn had chested the ball down.
A change of goalkeeper early in the second half did little to turn the tide and a towering header from Buchanan made it three on 58 minutes. Aitken turned provider for Adam Brown to make it 4-0 and the same pairing combined again to make it five.
Stenhousemuir: Jamieson, Meechan, Buchanan, Bilham (Berry 67), Lynch, Wedderburn (Kirkpatrick 73), Yates, Brown, Taylor (O’Reilly 63), Anderson, Aitken.
Not used: Lyle.
Stranraer: M McDonald (O’Connor 51), Ross, McIntosh, Robertson, Hughes (Williamson 46), Walker (O McDonald 41), Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, Armour, Orr (Lang 65).
Not used: Phillips and Clive.
Last five meetings
- Stenhousemuir 5 Stranraer 0 (Aitken (Pen), Buchanan x2 and Brown x2) at Ochilview Park on September 16, 2023
- Stranraer 2 Stenhousemuir 0 (Grant and Ecrepont) at Stair Park on April 29, 2023
- Stenhousemuir 2 Stranraer 1 (Yates x2; Walker) at Ochilview Park on January 7, 2023
- Stranraer 3 Stenhousemuir 2 (Hilton, Grant and Gallagher; Yates and Orr) at Stair Park on November 12, 2022
- Stenhousemuir 3 Stranraer 1 (Sewell, Jamieson and Crighton; Hilton) at Ochilview Park on September 3, 2022
Last five games
- LOSS v Peterhead (A): 3-2 (Armour and own goal)
- WIN v Elgin City (H): 3-1 (Forrest (Pen), Grant and Dolan)
- WIN v Civil Service Strollers (A): 0-3 (Girvan, Ross and Robertson)
- LOSS v East Fife (A): 4-0
- LOSS v The Spartans (H): 3-4 (Orr, Dolan and Lang)
- WIN v Peterhead (H): 2-0 (Anderson and Brown)
- WIN v The Spartans (H): 3-2 (Aitken x2 (Pen x1) and Jamieson)
- WIN v Forfar Athletic (A): 1-3 (Aitken x2 (Pen x1) and O’Reilly)
- LOSS v Brora Rangers (H): 0-2
- DRAW v Elgin City (A): 1-1 (Brown)
Last time out
Lineup v Peterhead: Budinauckas, Williamson, Girvan, Ross, McIntosh, Robertson, Dolan (Lang 60), Hawkshaw (Orr 89), Forrest, Grant, Armour (McDonald 89).
Not used: Sneddon, Walker, Strachan and Downie.
Lineup v Peterhead: D Jamieson, Buchanan, N Jamieson, Bilham, Lynch (Meechan 74), Wedderburn, Brown, O’Reilly (Berry 74), Anderson, Aitken, Yates (Taylor 84).
Not used: Sweenie-Rowe, McKay and Lyle.
1. It is 22 years since the last time there was a hat-trick in a game involving Stranraer and Stenhousemuir at Stair Park. It was only 1-0 at half time with Ian Harty finding the net in October 2001. However, it was a goal bonanza after the break as Kevin Finlayson, Stevie Aitken and Harty all scored before the hour mark. Alex Grace scored to make it 5-0 before Harty completed his hat-trick. Michael Stone found the net for the visitors as the game finished 6-1.
2. Fans’ favourite Matty Grant turned 22 yesterday (Thursday). The midfielder scored – alongside Finn Ecrepont – in the last meeting between the two sides at Stair Park in April.
3. One thing that is pretty much guaranteed in games between the two sides is goals. The last 32 meetings between the two teams have featured goals. The last goalless game came in January 2013 at Ochilview Park. The visiting team that day was: Mitchell, Kinnaird, Macgregor, McKeown, Dunlop, Aitken, Gallagher, Borris (Campbell 79), Winter (Love 78), Malcolm, Moore (Oné 67). Not used: Staunton and Cadwell.
4. Former Stranraer man Matty Yates could line up against his old side tomorrow while Tom Orr could line up against his former employer. Both players have scored for Stranraer against Stenhousemuir and for Stenhousemuir against Stranraer.
5. Stranraer last welcomed a side to Stair Park on November 18 six years ago. On that occasion, a last minute winner from Steven Mackay gave Brora Rangers a Scottish Cup win. Last month, they travelled to Ochilview Park and ended the Warriors’ hopes of Scottish Cup glory with a 2-0 win.
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
Stranraer FC merchandise is available, and the Pavilion Bar at the ground is open from 1pm for pre and post-match refreshments.
Photos: Bill McCandlish