Stranraer boss Stevie Farrell “proud” of his “kids”

Despite the financial unrest at Stair Park, the show must go on and Stevie Farrell’s side did not disappoint on Saturday, after winning 3-2 against Airdrieoninas as the battle to reach the promotion play-offs continue, in League One.

Speaking to the media after the game, ex-Dumbarton assistant manager Farrell said:

“It was a great game on a cold, wet, windy day – it was a great day for the supporters! I thought over the piece, we deserved it. We had to ride our luck at times; I think Airdrieonians will feel they should have scored with one [of their chances] in the first-half and then they hit the post right before we score our second goal, so, they will feel aggrieved, but, I felt my kids were brilliant.

At the end of the game, we had 7 or 8 kids out there who were under 21 years of age. I am delighted for them as they are learning the game all the time: Chris McGowan, again, will probably blame himself – he is beating himself up in there for their second goal – but, over the piece, it was another great performance from a kid in only his third competitive game. It was a big three points and it keeps up looking up the way.”

Despite the loss of pivotal first-teamers Ryan Wallace, Liam Dick and captain Steven Bell, Farrell is confident the Blues can meet their aims this term.

“I said this to the lads in there [the dressing room], that, when you lose experienced players, it is difficult, but, the one thing the kids bring is that they don’t get hung up on things as they just keep believing and doing things we are asking them to do and that is what they did. They were led by our experienced players [Jamie] Hamill, [Scott] Robertson and [Ryan] Thomson which is really good [to see] and I am really pleased for them. I think it is a big three points considering the other results today, but, ultimately, it is just another game.

It has been good this week as we have got back to the football side of things: we had a hard away game last week to Queen’s Park and then at home today against an Airdrieonians side who hadn’t lost in 6, so, it is 4 points out of the last 6 from when it has all kicked off around the Ayr United game. Credit goes to the lads, it has nothing to do with me as a manager: it is great for the squad as we are all pulling together and working hard and if we keep doing that, come the end of the season, we will be okay!”

Stephen Okoh grabbed a double as the young Englishman steps up to the mark following Wallace’s departure to Arbroath.

“I just said to him “it is great when you make a January signing like that!” quips Farrell. “Stephen has had to bide his time as we only play with one striker up front at the club and in the first-half of the season we had Ryan Wallace playing, who was the top scorer before he left, and, by Stephen’s own admission, he probably wasn’t at it. Coming up for England, it was difficult for him as he was staying alone, but, we have noticed in the last month he is looking better at training, sharper and looks a little bit more settled in Scotland. Hopefully his goals today can really kick him on.”

On the contrary, Stevie Findlay was bitterly disappointed with his Airdrieonians side.

“We get off to an absolutely brilliant start – sometimes, when you score in the opening minute of the game, it can be too early for you – and we have just said to the players there, the one word we can use is “self-inflicted”. We should have been 3 or 4 nil up at half-time. Instead, due to a lack of quality in the final third, we have gone in at 1-1: it is through that self-infliction.

We have every aspect of the goal today: we hit the post twice, the bar, as well as their keeper making 2 or 3 terrific saves. We have made poor choices at the edge of the 18-yard-box at times as I feel we had enough chances there – clear cut chances, too, but, we haven’t taken them. In saying that, we can’t defend like that either. That is as poorly as we have defended for their goals and that is the most disappointing aspect of today.”

With this being only the Diamonds defeat in the past 7 matches, Findlay does not want to be too downbeat.

“We have got to try and take something positive from today –  if we had taken our chances, it could have been a 6-3 game here. In fairness to Stranraer, we have opened up the game at the end to try and get the equaliser, which has left us a bit open at the back and I think Stevie [Farrell] will agree that they had a lot of chances in the final 10 or so minutes. It could have ended with any number of goals but, unfortunately, we have gone away with a 3-2 defeat.

The disappointing thing is that the equaliser comes because of what we do, rather than what the opposition do. We made a mistake at the back, and a fundamental one at that. We should just be clearing our lines, getting up behind it and nothing happens beyond that. If we come in 1-0 up at half-time, we can probably go up the park and get a second one, but, we didn’t and that is the reality of it. We need to go and handle that reality. I thought at that point [the equaliser to make it 2-2] that it was anybody’s game. I thought both teams were going at it at that point but the little bit of quality in our front-end was probably just lacking this afternoon and that probably cost us, as well.”

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