The skill is there - now to make it goals against Elgin

MONTROSE did not have the greatest of starts to their league campaign suffering a 1-0 defeat to East Stirling at Ochilview.

And to make matters worse for the Gable Endies they should have taken away a win from a game they dominated throughout.

It was a late penalty kick to the home side that sealed Montrose’s fate following Jonathan Smart’s dismissal deep into the second half.

Youngster Martin Boyle had the visitors’ best chances but he was denied in the 84th minute and again in added time.

Manager Ray Farningham said: “It is a game we should have won, yet we are going home with nothing.

“We were in complete control in the first half but you must capitalise in those situations and I said that at half-time to the players.

“We lost the ball in the middle of the park and Jonathan should know better and stay on his feet, especially in the box.”

The Gable Endies are now looking ahead to this Saturday’s first home game of the season against Elgin City at Links Park.

Mr Farningham hopes that the Mo’ supporters who travelled to Ochilview will be rewarded this time with a deserved victory.

When we spoke to the manager, he said he knows it will be a tough game as it always is against Elgin, who had a very good start to the season last week against Berwick, winning 4-1, with two goals a-piece from Gunn and Currie.

This Saturday’s visitors also shocked First Division Ross County, their former Highland League rivals, by beating them 2-1 in the first round of the Ramsden’s Cup.

Their website comments: “This is arguably the best result that the Moray Men have had since joining the Scottish League 11 years ago.”

Elgin finished seventh in last season’s Third Division Table, one place ahead of Montrose, but with an eight-point cushion.

However, the Montrose boss told the Review that he will be without Smart and Stephen McNally - both having accumulated two sendings-off at a very early stage in the season.

Smart will miss the next two matches, and McNally has one more to sit out.

But he confessed that he does not have a lot of options to replace the errant duo, noting that the squad currently stands at 17.

A further complication is doubt about the availability of Sean Pierce, over whom an injury question mark hangs.

Last night’s training session at Links Park will have gone along way towards making Mr Farningham’s mind up.

Clearly, he is still looking to add to his squad, and has specific players in mind.

But when asked for names, he replied with an enigmatic: “I’ve got a bit of ‘phoning to do.”