Boss hopes party atmosphere will end the season on a high

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ARBROATH manager Paul Sheerin is hoping tomorrow’s (Saturday) party atmosphere at Gayfield will inspire the players to end the season on a high.

The Lichties contest the last game of their championship winning campaign against Elgin City and at full-time the players will be presented with the league trophy and their medals.

On Saturday, despite being crowned Third Division winners the previous week, they were unable to overcome Annan Athletic and went down to a 3-0 defeat.

But tomorrow the boss is hoping the celebratory mood will motivate his side.

He told HeraldSport: “I think the occasion tomorrow will definitely lift the players after last week at Annan.

“We were obviously hungover after the previous week’s win against Montrose.

“But with us receiving the trophy tomorrow it will be nice to send the supporters away with three points as well.

“It will be a proud moment knowing we are the first team in Arbroath’s history to lift a trophy so hopefully it will be another decent crowd.”

Even though the title has been a foregone conclusion for two weeks now, Mr Sheerin was desperate to finish the season with a flourish.

He had hoped the team could break the 70 points barrier but the defeat at Annan means the Lichties can only finish on 69 points.

The boss explained: “It would have been nice to get 70 points but we will go for 69 now so we will just wait and see what happens.

“It had looked like we could have finished top goalscorers in Scotland, but after Rangers rattled in five at the weekend it looks unlikely. Hopefully we can get a few more goals.

“The only players we will have missing tomorrow are Alan Rattray who is a long term injury and Keith Gibson who is serving the second game of his suspension so he will be back available at the start of next season.”

With the championship and promotion now sealed, the club is now starting to plan ahead for life back in the Second Division.

At training on Wednesday night, four players were told their services were not required for the next campaign.

But as players are leaving the boss added that there will also be new faces.

He said: “It is unfortunate that we have decided to let go Danny Griffin, David Dimilta, Jay Shields and Darran Thomson.

“And there will probably be more to follow.

“But it is important to freshen the team up so things don’t become stagnant.

“In January we brought in Adam Strachan and Lee Sibanda and that seemed to boost the team also.”

And one player who definitely hopes to be featuring again next season is the manager himself, who believes he still has a few more years in him yet.

He added: “Hopefully me and SP (Stewart Petrie) will be signed up for next season by tomorrow but I’m too stubborn to stop playing right now.

“I still feel fit and fine to continue and as long as I get a good pre-season to be honest I think I’ve got another couple of years in me.”