THE one thing Fraser Duncan has always demanded is that his Sauchie players don’t go down without a fight. 

They certainly delivered their side of the bargain on Saturday as the Reds inflicted only the second home defeat of the season on promotion outsiders Tranent Juniors. 

A goal from the returning Ross Crawford, who had only just signed a loan deal from parent club Brechin City until the end of the season on Friday, was the difference as Sauchie stay in the hunt for Premier Division survival. 

READ MORE: Crawford's praise for Sauchie teammates after hat-trick

“We knew it was going to be difficult and we set out with a plan, knowing Tranent are a very good side,” Duncan told Advertiser Sport

“They are probably the best footballing team we have seen this year, but the game plan worked and we were just immense.

“We defended brilliantly, commanded our areas, and were organised and we just looked like a team that was fighting for our lives.

“That’s what I have wanted to get through to the guys and we did that on Saturday. 

“To go through to Tranent, who, in my eyes, are pushing for the title, and come back with a point would have been a great result.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Ross Crawford (centre) is already loving life back at Sauchie Ross Crawford (centre) is already loving life back at Sauchie

“To go there and get three points is an unbelievable result and I am just really proud of the guys.

“At the back, we were really solid and for the first time this season we were going into the last 15 minutes still confident they would find it very difficult to break us down.”

The win was Sauchie’s first since the start of December and lifted the Reds to just a point from safety, albeit they’ve played more games than most of their relegation rivals. 

Duncan knows if they are to survive they will hope longtime transfer target Crawford - Sauchie’s top scorer last season - pushes on after a fine second debut for the club. 

“The big man came in and, if I am being honest, throwing him in was probably not the right thing to do,” Duncan continued. 

“But, we put him straight in the starting line-up and that’s something we would not normally do.

“I was very impressed by his performance and he’s exactly what I have been searching for. It’s my first time working with him and I have been extremely impressed. 

“He’s a very good footballer, conducts himself in the right way, and I am very happy to have him here.

“He understands it’s not just about Ross Crawford and he knows it’s about Sauchie going on and staying in this league.

“He’s a switched on guy and he understands he has to be at a club where he kicks on now every week.”

READ MORE: Crawford sends message of thanks to Sauchie after Brechin City move

Sauchie next welcome Newtongrange Star to Beechwood Park and Duncan has challenged his players to build on one of their most impressive results of the season.

He said: “I’ve now said to the boys that we’ve gone away to our hardest fixture and we’ve won, but we need to keep pushing on.

“It would be a total waste of time if we don’t go and pick up all three points against Newtongrange Star this weekend.”