HAVING been schooled in an era where football was often less about the play and more about the battle, there’s very little Fraser Duncan or Davie Beaton ever feared on the pitch. 

But, even the once rugged, no-nonsense centre-backs of days gone by admit they’d have shuddered at the thought of lining up against Ross Crawford and Stevie Dolan.

Sauchie Juniors’ impressive new strike duo terrorised basement boys Newtongrange Star on Saturday as a brace from Brechin City loanee Crawford helped the Reds to a crucial win over their relegation rivals. 

READ MORE: Sauchie thrash relegation rivals Newtongrange Star to boost survival hopes

It was only 21-year-old Crawford’s second game since his return to Beechwood Park, but already his signature is looking like a real coup for all involved and his form will be crucial to Sauchie’s survival hopes. 

%image('10975903', type="article-full", alt="Sauchie gaffer Duncan was a happy man on Saturday ")

But, despite the headlines going to the youngster, boss Duncan is revelling in the partnership he has already formed with makeshift forward Dolan. 

“Ross reminds of Peter Crouch and is just a very hard player to play against,” Duncan told Advertiser Sport. “He holds the ball up really well, he’s got a great touch for a big lad, and he’s an extremely skillful footballer.

“The chances he took on Saturday were phenomenal and we haven’t had that this season.

“If he doesn’t take them, then we’re scraping away there at 2-1 and trying to hold on for a result. 

“We will support him in any way we can and hope he continues to get goals and get games, which is why he is here."

Duncan added: “Stevie does a lot of good things upfront and doesn’t get the credit he deserves or the credit he should get.

“Davie Beaton and I were saying that. As two old centre-halves, we look at the two of them and can imagine cursing our luck if we were to come up against them.

“They are just two very awkward players to play against and get their foot in and win the ball at important times.”

Dolan had a helping hand in Crawford’s first on Saturday, his delightful lay-off stroked beyond the desperate reach of Liam McCathie in Newtongrange’s goal.

%image('4075934', type="article-full", alt="Former Alloa Athletic defender Davie Beaton (left) is now Sauchie's assistant manager ")

It was one of four fine finishes from the Reds in their ‘must-win’ match with David Cross and Aaron Bryson also showing predatory instincts any number nine would be proud of.

The cutting edge shown by his side is something Duncan admits was missing in the first-half of the season and he feels justifies his decision to overhaul his squad during the winter months. 

“We now have that cutting edge and also can move the team about and bring players off the bench who will affect things,” he said. 

READ MORE: Ross Crawford out to repay Sauchie's show of faith

“The things we have changed are quite simple things and there have been a lot of players who have moved on.

“It wasn’t a case of being disrespectful and not because we didn’t get on with them, but because they aren’t the kind of players we think we need.

“The other two coaches from Newtongrange came over and said as much and it has proved us right with the wins we are now picking up."