East Kilbride boss Stevie Aitken insists his injury-ravaged squad aren't panicking after the club's worst-ever start the season.

Civil Service Strollers inflicted Kilby's first defeat of the season yesterday thanks to Joao Balde's strike in a 1-0 win at K-Park, following two 1-1 draws for Aitken's men in their opening games with Celtic B and Caledonian Braves.

It leaves them 13 points off the pace in 16th spot and they remain without a win this season after three games - in an unwanted first for the club.

Last season's runners-up and pre-season title favourites have played two games less than most of their rivals due to their involvement in the Premier Sports Cup last month and league leaders Dalbeattie Star boast a 100 per cent record at the top of the table on 15 points.

Kilmarnock's Jack Sanders and East Kilbride's Joao Victoria vying for the ball

Key players Lee Miller, Joao Victoria, Cammy Elliot and Chris Erskine were all missing from yesterday's defeat and Aitken has been left ruing their luck, insisting injury woes have played a role in their poor start to the season.

But he insists there is no cause for alarm yet among the Kilby camp.

He said: "There's quite a big gap from the top of the table, but we've only played three games with another 30 to go so we are not panicking at this stage at all.

"Our main concern is the amount of players we have out injured.

"I can't fault the players' efforts yesterday. We dominated the game for so long and had so much of the ball, it was enjoyable to watch.

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"But when you've got so many injuries at the top end of the park, you are relying on one striker, it's not going to happen for you.

"The big concern is we are not scoring goals and we need to get the injured guys back as quick as we can.

East Kilbride striker Craig Malcolm

"We can't keep relying on Craig Malcolm to score goals.

"He had a couple of chances yesterday, but he's only human like everyone else.

"I can't be too critical because we've never known anything like it in terms of injured players in one area of the park.

"The League Cup and playing three games in a week has taken its toll and really hurt us."

Former Rangers star Gregg Wylde became the latest injury victim when he hobbled off yesterday, but Aitken is hopeful of having a couple of players back for next Sunday's visit to Rangers B.

Aitken added: "It's tough on the players right now because they are giving us everything they've got but the lack of goals is costing us at the moment.

"Joao Victoria has got a problem in his hip flexor, hopefully that is not too bad, and Chris Erskine took a knock on the game on Tuesday night after taking a bang on his leg.

Chris Erskine

"That's not too bad and we are hopeful we'll have the two of them back for next week's game because we are down to the bare bones and dipping into the under-20s to help us out.

"Cammy Elliott is out for 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury.

"Lee Miller is getting there, but he's still not training.

"I've had better weekends."

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