After a strong finish to his first season, the process for Craig Beattie to committing to another year at Edinburgh City was straight forward for both the club and player.
The former Hearts and Scotland striker scored four times in 23 appearances as City secured their SPFL status at the first time of asking. He is now tasked with exerting his influence off the the field as well after taking on a coaching role, supplementing manager Gary Jardine and assistant Ross MacNamara.
“It was absolutely an easy decision to stay on,” Beattie said. “I came through and met with the chairman, met with the manager again, had a good discussion and signed the next day.
“I started back training a couple of Thursdays back. I had a good rest, got down to a bit of work myself and I’m looking forward to getting going.”
The move in to the coaching side of things is something Beattie feels his personality is suited to. “To be honest, the way I am as a player and a character, I’m pretty vocal anyway,” he explained. “As the season progresses, we’ll see how the coaching side develops but just now I’m looking forward to doing my pre-season, getting fit, competing and playing. I’ll help out on the pitch when I’m on it, and from the sidelines as and when required.
“We’ve had discussions so we know how it’s going to go and what the roles are going to be. I’ll be helping the gaffer and Mac out as and when required. I think Mac and myself will take the training sessions for the next couple of nights. It’s good experience for me and hopefully I can pass something on to the boys.”
That doesn’t mean his desire to be on the pitch scoring goals has in anyway diminished however.
“I’m feeling good and got myself in decent shape over the summer,” said the 33-year-old. “I got a couple of goals at the end of last season and there’s still no better feeling. After chatting to the gaffer and the opportunity of being here again came up, it’s a case of getting as many games and goals as possible to help the lads.
“I’m not going to tell you any lies, at 33 with working in the day, training at night and games at the weekend, it isn’t easy. My body’s been used to playing full-time football for 12 years, then you take on the part-time role where there’s other things involved. You’re connstantly on the go so it’s not quite the same.
“It’s maybe the case that your body is used to the full-time training but you’re not quite getting it, so it’s just a case of managing it as best you can. The manager’s got that trust in me that he allows me to do that so it’s all about three o’clock on a Saturday.”
After a more than respectable seventh placed finish despite a horrendous start to last year’s campaign, Beattie believes he and his team-mates should be aiming higher this time around. “Absolutely, a lot higher,” he asserted. “We’ve got a small squad at the minute but there’s a really good nucleus there of a good football team. The manager’s working hard to get bodies in but he won’t just bring anyone in, it’ll be to strengthen the quality he has.
“It’s an in-house thing just now, but we’ve got to start the season being very ambitious. Every team will have gone through it and the end of the season and said ‘if we’d don this or that in this game or that game’ but we’e looking at it from our point of view.
“17 games before we won, 32 per cent of the season gone with four points; to put a run together the way we did was remarkable. We’ll be looking to start quicker this year and build on what we did last year.”
Beattie believes the core of the squad will be stronger for enduring that difficult start to life in League Two.
“The lads that were involved deserve praise for the character they’ve shown,” he said. “The nucleus is going to remain the same so the character and experience they take from that will stand us in good stead.”
There’s also a trip to the national stadium courtesy of the Betfred Cup draw, that included Queen’s Park, to look forward to. “Back to Hampden, which has been a good place for me, I can’t lie,” Beattie smiled. “Motherwell as the Premier League team, and Morton too makes it a nice little cup draw. I’m looking forward to getting going.”