Edinburgh City captain aims to keep club in League Two then bow out

Dougie Gair stabs home against Berwick on Wednesday. Picture: Neil Hanna

Dougie Gair stabs home against Berwick on Wednesday. Picture: Neil Hanna

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Edinburgh City may not just have eight games left as an SPFL League Two club, but for captain Dougie Gair, the remaining fixtures are likely to be his last as a City player.

Having put off retirement following their historic promotion to the Scottish leagues last summer, the City stalwart admitted that he is likely to hang up his boots a year on - hopefully after helping the club retain it’s league status for another season at least.

If that happens Gair believes it will his biggest achievement after 13 years in black and white. “In all honesty, this is probably my last eight games or so, so I’m looking to go out on a high,” he revealed. “Staying up would be up there with anything I’ve done and hopefully we will. Having come from the East of Scotland, right through the Lowland League and to manage to keep us up in our first year in the league would be great. Hopefully the club can build on that once my days are up.”

Plans to head to Dubai and work appear to be back on for Gair and wife Frances, after putting it off for trips to the just as glamorous Elgin and Cowdenbeath this season. While he isn’t ruling out a return to the club in some form of non-playing capacity, he’s happy to leave the actual coaching to Gary Jardine, [assistant] Ross MacNamara and [first-team coach] Ross Ballantine.

“At the moment Dubai is still the plan,” Gair outlined. “I think it’s going to be my last few games no matter what so August time we’ll hopefully get away.

“Coaching is one thing that’s never really appealed to me. Obviously with my job as a personal trainer, I’m happy doing the fitness side of things as a fitness coach or whatever, but in terms of football coaching and managing or whatever, it’s not really me so I’m not really in to it. When I see the dedication those guys put in, I don’t think I could come up with that.

“I’m not saying the boys need a fitness coach at all! I’m doing that amongst many other things for this club anyway – I think I’ve had every job title at some point in my 13 years!”

The midfielder most recently took on the role of goalscorer, putting City 2-1 ahead at home to Berwick on Wednesday night, only for the Wee Rangers to restore parity with ten minutes remaining. By his own admission, it was one of Gair’s scrappier efforts. “I don’t even know what sort of touch I got to be honest,” he laughed. “I’ve obviously got something on it because it’s fired in to the bottom corner. I had new boots on as well so that’s them christened nice and early.”

Derek Riordan had levelled for City with his second in as many games for the club. With him, Craig Beattie and Lewis Allan, Gair believes a variety if options in attack wills serve City well on the home straight. “That’s the first time in about four or five years we’ve played three up front,” he said. “Beats coming back in to a wee bit of fitness and Derek signing as well is a massive help. That’s two in two for him so he’s proved what he can do. Then we’ve got Lewis coming so there’s plenty options for the gaffer and hopefully the competition breeds more goals.”

One thing City haven’t quite addressed is their home form. With just two league wins at Meadowbank all season, most of their joy has come on the road, for reasons Gair can’t fully explain. “We’ve always been a team that’s been good on the road,” he recalled. “If you go back to the Lowland League and even East of Scotland, we were always better away from home. I don’t know what it is.

“I would say the pitch at Meadowbank is the worst I’ve seen it. With it being knocked down in the summer, they’ve obviously decided not to spend money on it and treat it so it’s really bobbly. You’re so far away from the crowd as well it’s sort of an eerie atmosphere.

“It’s something we have tried to rectify and last year in the Lowland League we seemed to do that, but on the road seems to suit us.”

Gair is hoping that’s the case for tomorrow’s trip to Broadwood. “It’s going to be tough against Clyde but those are the teams we need to try and beat,” he insisted. “Going there on the astroturf, it’ll be sticky and it’ll be a battle.

“There’s been about one goal between us in three games this season so they’ve definitely not been classics. I’d imagine it’ll be the same scrappy affair, with neither team wanting to give an inch, so whoever’s coming – try and sneak in!”