“Bad goals killed us” was the verdict of manager Paul Hegarty after Montrose lost out at Ochilview.
The Links Park outfit were seldom at the races, and the Shire capitalised on a solid start by taking the lead in the 10th minute.
Kris Faulds sent in a free-kick from the left and, when Montrose keeper Ross Salmon failed to connect, Jordan Cairnie bundled the ball into the net.
Faulds fired just wide in the 28th minute, but two minutes later the visitors looked to have levelled when Graham Webster got on the end of a Jesse Curran cross four yards out.
Darren Dolan in the home goal, however, reacted superbly to claw the header away.
Only 19 seconds into the second half the home team doubled their advantage.
Faulds sent in a cross to the back post again, and Andy Kay rifled home from the angle of the six-yard box.
David McKenna rounded the keeper to slot home a third on 57 minutes with the Montrose defence posted missing.
Although Gary Fraser pulled one back in the 66th minute, Shire held out comfortably to pull themselves off the bottom of the division.
“The keeper went adrift at the first goal and then we lost a second right after the break, when we had kicked off,” Hegarty said.
“We played a bit better after that, but then lost another goal through defensive errors.
“Gary Fraser hit a great goal out of nothing, but we never offered enough.
“We have been going through a bad spell, but the lads here have to start to man up and it’s up to me and the staff to sort things out.
“I’ve told them that after this, the league has tightened up and everything is wide open now and it’s what we do from now on that matters.
“We are carrying a lot of injuries at the moment, but that gives those who come in a chance to stake a claim and they haven’t done that.”