East Kilbride gaffer’s delight as side dig deep again to show title credentials

Stevie Aitken reckons East Kilbride have shown their title credentials after another battling performance to maintain their 100 per cent start in the Lowland League.

The Kilby gaffer watched his side struggle to break down 10-man Berwick Rangers yesterday, but star signing Chris Erskine popped up with seven minutes to go to earn a vital 1-0 victory.

East Kilbride left it late to beat Stirling Uni with 10 men on the opening day of the season and Aitken reckons their ability to dig out results is the mark of a top side.

He said: “There’s a gift in winning ugly. Not many teams can do it and that’s twice that we’ve dug deep.

“That’s very pleasing to see a team do that as early as we have with a group of players that have just been put together.

“It’s great for me and my staff to see that, but we know we have to improve in terms of performance.

“Any team that wins things or is up challenging for things, you can’t play pretty, fluid football all the time.

Chris Erskine earned Kilby the points
(Image: SNS Group)

“You’ll go to different venues and teams will make it tough for you.

“Berwick made it tough for us and they will take points off teams. They are well-organised and didn’t let us play.

“But we had to grind it out. It wasn’t the way we wanted to play or anticipated it to go because we had players missing.

“It was tough on us to change things at the last minute, but it’s about getting the points.

“That’s four wins out of four and we are delighted with that.”

Kilby had to reshuffle their backline with centre-backs Steven Old and Steven Bell both ruled out.

Ricky Miller and new signing Tom Leighton, who has joined from Cove Rangers, slotted in at the back to help Kilby stay joint-top of the Lowland League.

Ricky Miller slotted in at centre-back
(Image: East Kilbride News)

Craig Reid was given his marching orders for two quick bookings midway through the second half and it took Kilby until the 83rd minute to find a breakthrough.

Skipper Paul Paton flicked the ball onto Erskine and the former Partick Thistle star volleyed the ball past helpless Gers keeper Dougie Horne to claim the points.

Kilby now head to the Falkirk Stadium on Wednesday night to face East Stirlingshire.

Aitken added: “We’ve not had a chance to get a settled back four yet, but it’s great that we’ve still kept a clean sheet.

Paul Paton, far right, set up Chris Erskine for the winner
(Image: East Kilbride News)

“I thought Conor Brennan was excellent. He’s made two or three crucial saves and at times he was outstanding for us.

“We’ve got a bit of time to recover now and we are looking forward to Wednesday and playing on a good surface.” 

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