One point from their first three games wasn’t the start expected from League 2 antepost fancies Stirling Albion, and it looks like the quest for promotion hit another speed bump this week.
Prior to kick-off on August 8, the Binos were 7/2 second-favourites to top the third tier at the first time of asking, but two home defeats later and they are available at 6/1 to finish ahead of the rest.
It doesn’t look likely to get any easier for them, with manager Stuart McLaren offering some concerning updates from within the side.
On dropping down from League 1 last season, Albion were able to secure the services of players who had plenty of experience at a higher level, but less than a month into the season and three of those men are set for a spell on the sidelines or away from the club entirely.
Striker Craig Beattie had scored plenty of goals in League 1 last season with Ayr United and at Dundee in the Premiership before that, so looked a mini-coup for McLaren and Co at the start of the season.
He has yet to get off the mark, and according to his manager the wait for his first Stirling goal will go on a fair while longer.
“Craig has unfortunately suffered what appears to be quite a serious hamstring injury during the match on Saturday. This is a very unfortunate occurrence, especially for Craig, but it is not anything that could have been predicted or prevented. We will be working extremely hard to bring in a replacement to the club,” McLaren said.
Another arrival from Ayr in the close season, Jon-Paul McGovern brought a wealth of experience to Forthbank Stadium, but after two games seems to want out.
According to McLaren’s latest update on the club’s official website “a few circumstances which in isolation were relatively insignificant….led to his unhappiness.”
It won’t be an instant release for the Glaswegian though with a lack of cover in that area meaning the side need him to remain a Stirling player, although it looks unlikely he will feature on Saturday against Elgin City.
“The very least supporters deserve is to have players wearing the Stirling Albion shirt who are 100 per cent committed to the club. This is a situation that has been created by the player and I am totally satisfied that the club is completely in the right,” he added.
One player that has left the club with immediate effect is defender Mark Staunton, though it looks as if though it will be on better terms.
The demands of travel to and from matches and training alongside his day job have meant he asked to leave the club.
McLaren explained that due to the number of defenders the club possess, his wish was granted and his contract has been terminated.
While changes were clearly necessary after a sluggish start to life in the bottom tier of the SPFL, disruptions such as these will not have been in the former Brisbane Strikers manager’s plan for the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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