Tam: i want to help side go all the way

Pic credit Chris Coutts
Pic credit Chris Coutts

Defender Thomas O’Brien said it was the management team’s positivity that convinced him to join Forfar Athletic from Cowdenbeath.

The centre half is one of a number of new additions to the Loons squad this season, joining Bryan Hodge, Kevin Nicoll and Iain Campbell.

And O’Brien believes the club can go one better than last season in their bid for promotion to the Championship with the added quality.

He said: “I spoke to Dick and Pink and another few people, everything they said was positive. They weren’t far away last year, hopefully this year we can go all the way.

“It’s a good squad, older and younger boys, it’s a good mix. Last year they were a bit unlucky but with a few more boys hopefully we can do it.”

O’Brien was speaking after Forfar’s 1-1 draw with East Stirling on Saturday and the defender said the fixture was a decent run-out.

He added: “It was just a pre-season game, I thought in the first half we did well and then in the second, we took our foot off the gas a bit. They had a bit more possession but the main aim of pre-season is to build fitness. A few young boys played as well so that was good.”

Forfar were missing seven senior players for the game on Saturday, with Rab Douglas, Mark Baxter, Campbell, Hodge, Martyn Fotheringham, Danny Denholm and Chris Templeman all missing through injury or holidays.

Only four subs were named in James Yates, Jack Neave, Frankie Devine and a trialist keeper while Jason King was in goal from the start for his first senior game.

Forfar started off the better team and had the first chance in the sixth minute when Craig Smith nodded a Gavin Malin free kick past the post.

Four minutes later Kerr Hay saw his header saved after rising to meet Michael Travis’s pinpoint cross.

East Stirlingshire had their only shot of the half in the 14th minute when Ross Gilmour fired over from the edge of the box.

The Loons took the lead three minutes later when Gavin Swankie blocked a clearance on the byline before Smith held off his marker to set up Derek Young, who fired the ball home from 20 yards.

The first half turned into a drab affair, with the only efforts of note Swankie and Malin’s shots from narrow angles which were blocked by the visitors’ trialist keeper.

The second half was as exciting as the first in that there was just one goal and very little goalmouth action.

Four minutes in Kris Faulds saw a shot blocked before substitutions started to disrupt the flow of play.

In the 64th minute Swankie went close with a free kick but could only hit the post, meanwhile at the other end East Stirlingshire equalised after Wallace was fouled by O’Brien, Faulds stepping up to fire home the penalty with King unlucky not to save it.

Smith hit the sidenetting with an off balance shot in the 76th minute.

Before the goal kick was taken a familiar face took to the field for the visitors, former Loons player and manager George Shaw - and current Shire assistant boss came on as a trialist.

In the final moments of the game Connor Greene headed over for the away side while sub Frankie Devine had a shot blocked for the Loons after being set up by Young as the game ended all square.