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Shane reaction to Elgin City goal glut

By Craig Christie

BAD news for SPFL defences – Elgin City goal machine Shane Sutherland reckons his best is yet to come.

Shane Sutherland chases Elgin City team-mate Kane Hester after his goal in the 2-0 Challenge Cup win at Airdrie. Photo: Bob Crombie
Shane Sutherland chases Elgin City team-mate Kane Hester after his goal in the 2-0 Challenge Cup win at Airdrie. Photo: Bob Crombie

With 15 goals in 17 games this term, the 28-year-old is well on course to beat his best strike tally for a season.

He is almost two-thirds of the way towards overhauling the 24 he netted in 2016-17, with just a quarter of the campaign gone.

Yet Sutherland believes he has yet to peak, and is setting himself goal targets for the remainder of the year in an effort to push Elgin towards success.

The former Caley Thistle player recently passed the 100 mark for career goals from his time at Inverness, Elgin and Peterhead.

Of those 100, 87 have been scored for City and he is keen to reach the ton for his club before the season is up.

“I think my form is on par with three years ago,” he said. “The goalscoring record this season compared to then has nearly doubled (for mid-October).

“From the goalscoring side of it, it speaks for itself as it’s the best start to the season I’ve had.

“But as a player and the way I’m playing I think I’ve got a little bit more to come. I’m definitely getting back to what I feel is my best.”
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Sutherland’s incredible goal ratio this term vindicates Elgin manager Gavin Price’s mission to bring the attacker back to Borough Briggs for a third spell, having twice left for Peterhead in previous seasons.

He is not only scoring goals with great regularity, but he is finding the net against higher league teams as he proved again last Saturday.

A stoppage time penalty kick sealed a memorable 2-0 Challenge Cup win at full-time Airdrie, earning City a trip to Raith Rovers in the quarter-finals next month.

Sutherland has scored in every round of the competition, including strikes at Easter Road against Hibs Colts and Dens Park in the 2-1 success over Championship Dundee.

Goals against two more Championship teams in Arbroath and Alloa in the Betfred Cup prove that City’s top scorer is a big game player.

But like all good strikers, he relies on good service and is the first to admit that Elgin’s attacking flow and good cup form this term suits him perfectly.

“It’s down to the team as well. We are creating chances and the cup run we are

on has given us momentum.

Sutherland said he is not alone in the striking fraternity in setting himself goal targets for the season, and admits he is well ahead of expectations so far.

Winning more games is his priority, but he admits he does have one eye on a couple of possible club milestones.

With 175 starts and 11 sub appearances for Elgin over three permanent and one loan spell at the club, he is 14 games away from a double century of games for the Borough Briggs club.

Being 13 goals short of a club goal ton, it’s not beyond reach for Sutherland to grab his 100th strike before his 200th appearance.

“There’s 27 league games left and at least another two cup ties, so I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be disappointed sitting at the end of the season having not managed another 13,” he said.

“But I need to concentrate on each game as it comes and all I’m looking ahead to right now is the Berwick game and trying to put away the chances that come my way.

“To reach the 100 this year would be brilliant and I’m not too far away from my 200th appearance for Elgin so if I could reach the 100 goals before the 200th game, it would be brilliant.

“A goal every second game for Elgin, there won’t be many out there in the modern era that will have that.

“Personal records are good but it’s all about the team and if we start winning games I’m more than sure that I’ll be scoring goals.”

There’s also bad news for Scottish Cup opponents Berwick, for they are the club Sutherland has scored most goals against in his City career - ten and counting.

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