Ayr United are in cup action and on the road again this weekend when we travel to Ochilview to face East Stirlingshire in the first round of the League Cup. Mark Roberts’s men will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of losing to Clyde in the Petrofac Training Cup as they gear up for the start of the League 1 campaign.
The Shire were defeated 7-1 by neighbours Falkirk on Saturday at Ochilview, the first match in charge for new manager Craig Tully. Six of the Bairns’ goals were scored in the second-half.
Read on for our preview of Saturday’s game:
Team News: United hope to be at full strength for the trip to Ochilview.
Kevin McKinlay had painkilling injections earlier this week to combat an ongoing back problem and should be fit to play.
Martyn Campbell is also expected to line up in defence after putting pen to paper on a new deal with the club on Thursday.
Peter McGill is also in contention to start again after his impressive second half display at Broadwood.
Marko says: “We know this is a very important tie in terms of our confidence levels ahead of the first league game.
“We need a kick start for the season and I’ll be using our run to the semis of this competition a couple of years ago as a good example of what can happen.
“Last Saturday was a big warning for us and the senior players especially are all looking to remedy that.
“We had a great training session on Tuesday night, there was a big reaction from Saturday and we’re looking to put things right.”
Ayr United wins: 31
East Stirlingshire wins: 16
Ayr United have played East Stirlingshire five times in the League Cup. The sides were drawn in together in the group stages of the competition in 1962/63 (1-4 and 2-1) and 1969/70 (0-0 and 1-0). More recently Ayr were 3-0 winners at Ochilview in the first round of the competition in Season 2011/12.
East Stirlingshire knocked Ayr United out of the Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win at Ochilview the last time the sides met, on 28 July 2012. The game was Mark Roberts’s first in charge. United’s starting line-up on the day was: Brown; Tiffoney, McCann, Brownlie, J. Robertson; Marenghi, Sinclair, McStay, Shankland; Moffat, R. Robertson.
– In nine matches on Ochilview’s artificial surface, Ayr have recorded just one win: against East Stirlingshire in the first round of the League Cup in 2011. The pitch has been relaid this summer.
– East Stirlingshire finished eighth in League 2 last season, 20 points ahead of tenth placed Queen’s Park.
– Ayr have been knocked out of the League Cup by a Premier League/Premiership club in five of the past six seasons.
On this day:
Ayr United have played four competitive fixtures on 2nd August, all of them at SomersetPark. Our only win came against Falkirk in an Anglo-Scottish Cup qualifier in 1975. United went on to face Mansfield in the next round of the competition.
Referee: Greg Aitken
Assistant: Graeme Stewart
Assistant: Steven Strang
Ayr United fans will occupy the Tryst Road terracing behind the goal at Ochilview.
The River Cottage Travel Club bus departs from the pub at 12.30pm. Seats cost £10. Phone Tam on 07585 328685 or Jamie on 07792 747354 for details.
The RCTC are having a buffet with karoeke/disco on return from the game starting around 7pm. There will be a raffle to help raise funds to subsidise some away games to try and ensure the bus runs to every away match for a second season in a row. The raffle has some excellent prizes already including a season ticket and 2 months membership for two at the Fairfield house hotel leisure club. All supporters are welcome.
From M9, travel to Kincardine Bridge then follow sign posts to Stenhousemuir via A905 and A88 along the Bellsdyke Road. Turn left into Tryst Road and then left at the end into Gladstone Road.
Nearest train station is Larbert, approx half a mile away.