Rossvale boss Gordon Moffat admitted he deliberately chose tough opposition for his side’s pre-season schedule.
Vale are preparing for life in the new West Championship after last season’s Central District title win.
And after seeing his side lose 4-2 to West Region champions Beith and 2-0 to Lowland League side East Stirlingshire last week he said: “We chose the opponents quite methodically for pre-season.
“I wanted to challenge them and say ‘you’re not going to get it all your own way in this league’. The league we’re going into is going to be tough.”
Moffat said his side acquitted themselves well against Lowland League title hopefuls Shire and came off disappointed not to get a win.
He said: “We played well. We probably had the majority of possession and moved the ball really well.
“First half, although we had most of the ball it was quite an even half and both teams were matched up with the systems they were playing.
“I had planned to try a couple of things yesterday and at half-time we changed the system and put some wingers on.
“We created a lot of chances and missed two or three really good chances and there was one the boys said bounced over the line but with the linesmen it’s hard.
“We should have been a couple of goals up and they’ve sucker punched up towards the end with a couple of goals.
“The boys were a wee bit disappointed with the result - they felt they should have won the game - but I told them not to overly worry. Hopefully the chances will fall into place when it matters.
“The main thing was we played well and we got a lot out of it.”
The Shire test followed a 6-0 win over South of Scotland side Lochar Thistle and a 4-2 home loss to Beith. Next up is a final friendly with local amateur side St Mungo’s at Loreto on Wednesday before the competitive action get under way at Shettleston on Saturday.
Moffat said: “The first game against Lochar, we did well.
“But the league we’re going into is going to be tough so I wanted the next two games to be tough.
“We’ve then got a game with St Mungo’s Amateurs who won’t be any mugs. They’ve got a lot of good ex-21s and have taken a few boys from teams that were in our league last year.
“It’s on grass as well and we chose that because we know what’s coming up - Shettleston away on Saturday will be a tough game on a grass pitch and similarly Darvel away in the first league game.”
“We know we can move the ball well on astro, but we’re not going to have all that this season. We’re going to have top go to tough away grounds.”
Saturday’s match at Shettleston is followed by further group games at home to Maryhill on Monday and Pollok away next Wednesday.
And while he’d love to progress to the knockout stage of the tournament, Moffat admits his priority is getting his side ready for the start of the league campaign the following Saturday.
He said: “It’s the same with most managers. It’s even more compressed than it was and with three games in five days it won’t be the same team that plays the three games.
“It’s a bit like pre-season because you’re trying things, but it’s a competitive tournament you want to try and go through in.
“I’ll be picking three different teams but with a view to trying to win the three games.”