At times it’s been a long and hard slog but Edinburgh City finally registered their first-ever league victory as a professional outfit on Saturday.
It may have taken 12 attempts but no-one in the Meadowbank side’s dressing-room will care.
A second-half penalty from captain Dougie Gair was enough to sink fellow SPFL League 2 strugglers Montrose at a bitterly cold Links Park to gave City their second-consecutive 1-0 win in the space of four days following last Tuesday’s William Hill Scottish Cup second-round replay win over divisional rivals Forfar at Station Park.
However, the significance of their latest win will feel all the more sweeter with City having now moved to within two points of both Montrose and Cowdenbeath at the bottom.
Manager Gary Jardine revealed he and his players had been riled by some comments in the press ahead of Saturday’s clash in Angus.
“Let me just say we are determined to stay in this league and make a right good go of it. Folk had been looking at us as the whipping boys and we’d seen a few quotes that we felt were derogatory towards us so we’re looking at that to spur us on,” Jardine explained. “Joe Mbu was getting slated last week for being too slow or that he can’t turn. Well, I think you saw that’s not the case as he was outstanding on Saturday.
“We conceded a lot of goals in the first part of the season but we’ve gone back to how we got here in the first place and the boys seem more settled and relaxed. It was a horrible game but we wanted the points. Tuesday’s win gave us a bit of belief and momentum.
“Of course we would have liked to have had more points off the back of the first quarter but I can see they are now competing whereas before they were too honest for my liking in terms of going toe-to-toe with their opponents.
“We don’t want to get ahead ourselves, we’ve won one cup and one league game as there are no easy games in this league at all. I think everyone had been saying there wasn’t an easy game prior to Edinburgh City. Maybe people will now sit up and take notice a wee bit.”
City defender Chris McKee prevented what looked a sure goal as early as the fourth minute as his last-ditch tackle prevented Graham Webster from pulling the trigger inside the area. Jardine was forced to reshuffle his pack after 23 minutes as striker Craig Beattie was withdrawn due to a hamstring problem and was replaced by last Tuesday’s goal hero Ross Allum. Goalkeeper Andrew Stobie was called into action for the first time ten minutes before the interval, standing firm to deny Webster.
City’s Ousman See passed up a gilt-edged chance to give the visitors the lead. The striker expertly rolled his maker to create the space inside the Montrose box but with just Allan Fleming to beat, the 22-year-old shot wide of the far post with the goal at his mercy.
However, Gair wouldn’t pass up his 65th-minute chance as he sent Fleming the wrong way from 12 yards following Terry Masson’s clumsy challenge on Allum.
Both Webster and Gregor Anderson had late efforts as the Gable Endies sought an equaliser but were unable to breach an excellent City defence.
Montrose: Fleming, Ballantyne, I Campbell, Masson, Anderson, Steeves, Ferguson (Hynd 70), McWalter, Court, Templeman (R Campbell 70), Webster (Watson 89). Subs: Millar, Lennie, Pascazio.
Edinburgh City: Stobie, Dunsmore, Harrison, Mbu, McKee, Laird, McFarland, Gair, McConnell (Muhsin 84), Beattie (Allum 23), See (Guthrie 90). Subs: Antell, Caddow, Cummings, Paterson.
Referee: David Munro