Stirling Albion boss Stuart McLaren was delighted with Saturday’s crucial 1-0 win over leaders Annan at Forthbank, courtesy of a 77th-minute goal from substitute Phil Johnston on his return after four months out.
We have now lost just one of our last 12 matches in all competitions and have moved to within four points of the top ahead of the Boxing Day visit of East Fife.
McLaren said: “Annan are up there on merit and everyone knew the consequences of the result either way so I’m really pleased with the outcome.
“It was a difficult game and Annan looked to cancel us out, although they pushed forward more in the second half. I always felt we could get a goal playing against the wind and thankfully it turned out that way.
“I’m waiting for Ross McMillan to come back and score on his return from injury because Darren Smith, Craig Beattie and Phil Johnston have all done it!
“It’s great having these boys back because the injuries didn’t help us earlier in the season – to be within touching distance of the leaders is a great position to be in after the start we had but we need to keep it going.”
Annan manager Jim Chapman said: “I thought there was nothing in the game but one or two breaks of the ball went against us in the build-up to the goal.
“I thought it was heading to a 0-0 draw and this is the first time we have not scored this season. We are usually good at making things happen but today we seemed to be expecting them to happen.
“But we are still top of the league and have been there since October – I don’t think my players have had enough credit for that.”