STRANRAER boss Stevie Farrell has challenged his players to deliver the perfect Christmas present: go four games undefeated in the league for the first time since his first games in charge.
The Blues were comfortable winners against Forfar on Saturday but there is no chance to relax with Stranraer back at Stair Park tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.
Speaking after the full time whistle on Saturday, he said: "Three nil at home, a clean sheet, missed a penalty - it could have been four or five.
"We now move into third in the league, I believe, with a game in hand and that comes on Tuesday night.
"We prepare and we prepare professionally for that on Tuesday and hopefully come back here and pick up another three valuable points.
"We have done well the last two weeks away from home and we said it would mean nothing if we came to Stair Park today and let ourselves down.
"We've not done that, we have come here and added to what we did away from home in the past two weeks.
"So, we need to try to keep this run going.
"That is three games unbeaten now and Stranraer is sitting in third.
"Somebody reminded me today that Stranraer in the last two seasons has been sitting bottom of the league at Christmas.
"Well, they will not be bottom of the league at Christmas this year, will they?"
Victory over Forfar came despite Jamie Hamill's penalty miss in the first half, while Grant Anderson also had a goal chopped off just six minutes after the half time interval.
Fortunately, neither incident came back to haunt a dominant Stranraer side, with Ryan Wallace scoring from the penalty spot and Angus Beith adding a late double.
Farrell was pleased to see his team take charge after the restart.
He said: "We were not playing intense enough for me in the first half.
"It was not quick enough, we didn't move the ball quick and we played an extra pass when we did not have to.
"So, we spoke to them at half time about that, to go and play higher up the pitch and to play in the right areas.
"We did that second half and I thought we got our just rewards."
The spot kick miss came about through Scott Agnew, who could return for Saturday's trip to Alloa, being unavailable for injury.
The midfielder has scored five of his eight goals this season from the penalty spot.
The manager confirmed Hamill would no longer be on penalty duty and pointed a light-hearted finger of blame at first team coach Alan Waddell.
He said: "Jamie is definitely off penalties.
"I blame Alan Waddell for that, believe me, I blame Alan Waddell.
"He does all the set pieces and he forgot because Scott Agnew was not playing who would be the penalty taker.
"On record, Alan Waddell is to blame for that."
It remains to be seen if the Stranraer boss will freshen up the team for the visit of the Coatbridge side, who were not in action after their game with Raith Rovers fell victim to the weather.
Liam Dick is back from suspension, while Paul Woods again stepped off the bench to set up a goal
Albion Rovers 0-4 Stranraer
16 September 2017
SCOTT Agnew grabbed his first career hat-trick while Paul Woods scored his first goal for the club as Stranraer picked up, arguably, their most impressive win of the season so far.
The visitors to Cliftonhill were on the front foot during the opening exchanges and were 3-0 up after just over half an hour. Agnew opened the scoring after he lobbed Graham Bowman from the edge of the box to round off a fine team move.
Then, ex-Albion man Ryan Wallace was brought down in the box by Ross Davidson and Agnew made no mistake from 12 yards.
If the Stranraer fans were enjoying the impressive start, things got even better when Woods slotted into the bottom left corner after another fine team move. The hosts attempted to get back into the game after the break, with Stranraer happy to simply keep them at bay and try to add to the score on the counter-attack.
Grant Anderson had a header ruled out for offside but it would be Agnew who had the final say. Jason Marr was shown a straight red card for bringing down substitute Stephen Okoh and Agnew squeezed the ball beyond Bowman to wrap up the memorable win.
Albion Rovers: Bowman, Reid, Lightbody (Higgins 46), Perry, McMullin (Marr 46), McLaughlin, Holmes, Davidson (Vitoria 75), Fisher, Shields, Trouten.
Not used: McLeish, Hopkins, Watters and Potts.
Stranraer: Belford, Dick, Barron, Neill, Hamill, Woods (Turner 84), Bell, Agnew (Stoney 85), Anderson (Okoh 76), Thomson, R Wallace.
Not used: Lang, McGowan, T Wallace and Currie.
Last five meetings
- 0-4 (Agnew x3 (Pen x2) and Woods) at Cliftonhill on September 16, 2017
- 3-0 (Willis, Wallace and OG) at Cliftonhill on April 8, 2017
- 3-0 (Malcolm x2 and Bell) at Stair Paark on February 4, 2017
- 3-2 (Stewart and Wallace x2; Gibson and Nuttall) on November 12, 2016
- 3-2 (C Thomson x2 and McGuigan; Stewart and Willis (P)) on September 17, 2016
Stranraer's last five games
WIN v Forfar Athletic (H): 3-0 (Wallace (Pen) and Beith x2)
DRAW v East Fife (A): 1-1 (Wallace)
WIN v Arbroath (A): 1-2 (Turner and Beith)
LOSS v Brora Rangers (H): 0-1
LOSS v Airdrieonians (A): 2-0
Albion Rovers' last five games
LOSS v Ayr United (A): 3-2 (Higgins and Trouten)
WIN v East Kilbride (A): 3-4 (OG, Fisher, Vitoria and Trouten)
LOSS v Alloa Athletic (H): 0-2
LOSS v Forfar Athletic (H): 3-4 (Trouten (P), Shields and Higgins)
DRAW v Airdrieonians (A): 2-2 (Trouten and Fisher)
Last time out
Stranraer lineup v East Fife: Belford, Robertson (McGowan 80), Barron, Neill, Bell, Wallace, Anderson (Woods 78), Turner, Beith, Hamill (Lang 86), Thomson.
Not used: Okoh, Gray, Stoney and McLaren.
Albion Rovers lineup v Ayr United: Potts, Reid, Marr (Lightbody 65), Perry, Higgins (Vitoria 48), McLaughlin, Holmes, Fisher, Davidson, Shields, Trouten.
Not used: McMullin, Guthrie, Hopkins and Watters.
It is just over nine months since Craig Napier last took charge of a game involving Stranraer.
He was the man in the middle at Stair Park when the Blues lost out to Liam Buchanan's late goal as Livingston edged closer to the League One title in March.
The referee is no stranger to Brian Kerr and Albion Rovers, though. He was in charge during October's clash with Queen's Park at Cliftonhill. Thomas Orr scored the only goal on that occasion to give the Spiders all three points.
Entry prices are as follows:
Adults £15, Concessions (65+) £10, Secondary £5, Primary FREE.
Follow the Blues on Twitter at @StranraerFC for live updates throughout the evening.
Make sure you pop into the Club Shop for any last minute Christmas shopping - we'll be open throughout the evening.
Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish.