Ian McFarland has donned the Edinburgh City captain’s armband in recent weeks, but insists the whole squad has been leading by example during their six-match unbeaten league run.
With Gary Jardine preferring to use club captain Dougie Gair as an impact substitute – and to good effect – over the past few games, McFarland has been handed the responsibility of the captaincy. Having taken 12 points from their last four games, the new arrangement is certainly working. “It’s a bit tactical with Dougie coming off the bench and then starting a few games,” McFarland explained. “I’ve enjoyed leading the boys out, it’s brilliant. There’s obviously a wee bit of extra responsibility, but I’m used to it now and the nerves are away now.
“You could call Joe [Mbu] the unofficial captain I suppose. He keeps everybody on their toes and leads by example every week. But everyone in the team has something to offer that helps you through. Playing beside Marc Laird – he’s a quiet guy but he’s brought my game on in the last few weeks as well by being a calming influence.
“On the pitch, Dougie is really quiet too and I’m a bit different to be fair! In terms of talking to the boys, I’ve got a reputation as a bit of a screamer and a shouter, but I think we compliment each other well, whoever’s captaining the team. We’ve got a good relationship, me and Dougie.”
If City’s second goal against Stirling Albion last Saturday was anything to go by, the pair enjoy a good footballing understanding as well. It was McFarland’s pin-point, defence-splitting pass that Gair latched on to before thumping in the goal that settled the match. It was the first time the Lowland League champions have won by more than single-goal margin all season. “It was a huge relief on Saturday to finally get a second goal,” the midfielder recalled. “To get it at the end on Saturday was massive for us so hopefully the scoring continues.”
Should Ouzy See continue producing his current form, then there’s a good chance that will indeed be the case. The front man opened the scoring once again against the Binos – the fifth time he’s done so this term and his seventh goal of the season in total. “Ouzy’s been unbelievable the last few weeks. I don’t now what’s got in to him!” teased McFarland. “He’s just on fire. Even in training he’s running boys ragged. He’s doing really well and you can see he’s playing with that confidence, but he needs to keep the hard work up as well, just like the rest of us. He’s got a great attitude though and hopefully notches another goal on Saturday.”
Tomorrow brings a trip to North Lanarkshire to face Barry Ferguson’s Clyde who were – the last team to beat City on league duty almost two months ago to the day. The Bully Wee triumphed 1-0 at Meadowbank thanks to a Sean Higgins strike. City went in to that game bottom of the form table, yet are now the team to beat in League Two. “They’re the last team to beat us in the league and since then, the turnaround has been incredible,” said McFarland. “Hopefully we can put that last defeat right. It was a pretty scrappy goal we lost that day which we were disappointed with. Even now, it’s still something Gary goes on about at training, trying to get us to cut out these scrappy goals. Those were the goals we’d been losing at the start of the season which was horrible.
“Now we’re letting teams in less for those type of chances and if we can continue cutting those out, we’ll be absolutely fine. It’s one of those things where everyone has to play their part and concentrate at key moments. We’re conceding less than a goal a game now really, so we need to keep that up.
“Ever since our first win, getting back to basics has been key for us and the organisation’s been outstanding. That’s from everyone, the strikers through to Andrew [Stobie, goalkeeper] and teams are finding it really difficult. They’ll maybe say our performances are ‘hard-working’ and ‘stuffy’ and things like that, be we take pride in how hard we work and how organised we are. The boys are determined to keep that going.”