Craig Beattie may have been given extra responsibility off the pitch, but that hasn’t diminished his desire or ability to keep contributing on it for Edinburgh City.
The veteran striker was this week named player/assistant manager to new boss James McDonaugh, with Colin Jack appointed first-team coach where he’ll assume some of the duties Beattie carried out in his previous player/coach role under Gary Jardine.
McDonaugh will be in charge tonight as Ainslie Park again hosts some Friday night football when Stenhousemuir visit for a William Hill Scottish Cup second-round tie.
Despite being named McDonaugh’s right-hand man, Beattie is still as keen as ever to play as often as possible. “Things won’t change in terms of the playing side of things, apart from I’ll be asking the manager to play me!” he laughed. “I’ll probably get kicked out the group chat and get extra stick off the boys too!
“I love being here. I love this group of boys. I think they know my personality and hopefully some of that rubs off on them. I’m just a winner – even in little training games, I hate losing. My attitude’s right; I do things first; I get here as early as I can and warm up us much as I can – my preparation’s always on point. No matter what you get out me on a Saturday – whether it’s good or bad – I think they see that I do the right things. I don’t think anyone will have any issue with that side of things. If anything, it might bring a wee bit of inspiration.
“I’m looking to be the manager’s right-hand man, but also someone the players can come and talk to and trust as well.”
The sudden promotion has come earlier than Beattie could have expected following Jardine’s sudden departure two weeks ago. Just as his new boss did, the man Jardine brought to the club was keen to pay tribute.
“It came sooner than I thought because I didn’t expect Gary to leave,” admitted Beattie. “I’ve had chats with the chairman and the new manager and I’m really excited and looking forward to it.
“Gary leaving was a shock after the last game when we were told. We’d not long previously won games back-to-back and things had started to look that little bit better.
“Gary’s made his decision, though, and he has been absolutely unbelievable for this club, as well as Ross Macnamara and Ross Ballantine. They’ve all done fantastic things that’ll never be taken away from them.
“Now as a staff, as players, as a squad we have to be together and draw a line under this. We’ve got to move on and create something else.”
Beattie staying on does provide some continuity, and the plan is for him to be a useful link between McDonaugh, Jack and their new players.
“They know I know the lads pretty well – I’ve been here well over a year now,” he explained. “The lads know me, they know what I’m like and they all know that they can trust me. I’m just looking forward to putting good performances together, putting the ball in the net and getting goals.”
Tonight, in a competition Beattie is almost synonymous with now, would be a fine time to start. “It’d be nice to win a fifth Scottish Cup,” he smiled, tongue firmly in cheek. “You know what, though ... teams make excuses about cup runs being a hindrance. ‘It’s too many games’, or they use it as a positive to keep momentum going – the game’s full of clichés. I’m not going to get bogged down in any clichés because I’m not really a fan of them.
“Ultimately, we’ve got a game in which we need to represent this club and represent ourselves. Collectively and as individuals we have to put on a good performance for the management, for the board, for the staff and for the fans. The ultimate aim at the minute is getting into the third round of the cup.
“We’ve played Stenhousemuir quite recently so we’ve got a little bit of knowledge of how they’ve been. Home game, Friday night, under the lights with a new management team – it can’t really be any better. That would be a great statement if we could go and put in a good performance and most of all, hopefully, get ourselves in to the third-round draw.”