Tom STEVEN, in his own words, was Edinburgh City’s “greatest ever manager”, but now, as the boss of Tynecastle, he is determined to beat his old club when they clash in the Central Taxis Premier Division at Fernieside, kick-off 2:30pm.
Steven’s claim to fame is that he managed the Edinburgh City team that claimed their only league title under his guidance in season 2005/06.
“I was four years as manager at City, then my brother Shaun took over for three years, so we both have fond affections for them as a club,” said Steven.
“The committee and everybody connected with the club were really good to work for and it’s a pity that tomorrow we are both desperate for points to avoid being possibly dragged into a relegation dog-fight. I reckon that another three points would see Tynecastle safe and that was our remit when we took the job on at the latter part of last year.”
Tynecastle’s recent Premier Division results have seen them draw with Gretna 2008 (2-2), beat Vale of Leithen (3-1) and lose to Edinburgh University (0-1). “We’ve had a mixed bag of results, although the truth is that in our game with Edinburgh University they created two chances and scored with one,” said Steven. “We, on the other hand, created four chances and failed to score.
“It seems that our energy levels are not as high in the second half. In fact, our inconsistency at times could be broken down into half-hour chunks. I sometimes don’t know what’s going to happen next – it’s like watching Fireball XL5!”
Last weekend, Tynecastle drew 2-2 with second-placed Gretna 2008 with Steven saying: “At 2-2, Jordan Caddow missed a glorious chance to put us ahead with only a couple of minutes left, although overall a draw was probably a fair result against a strong physical side.”
Tynecastle are four points ahead of Edinburgh City, although Steven’s side have played two games more.
“We played a friendly over the New Year period and beat City 3-2, although they played really well,” said Steven.
“It was me who signed their co-manager, Gary Jardine, for City as a player. We brought him from Armadale and he did really well for us before injuries took their toll and we then encouraged him to take up coaching. However, tomorrow I am with Tynecastle and he is with City and we are both desperate for all three points.
“We both want the bragging rights and I am determined not to be beaten by my old club.”
Tynecastle have Robbie Arthur in great goalscoring form with 12 goals in his past 12 games while Josh Morris is also hitting the net regularly.
Meanwhile, City’s Jardine said: “This league season has not been good enough for us. After finishing in sixth position last season we had plans to get into the top four, but now we probably need at least six points to ensure our safety in the Premier Division.
“I think that 23 points will be enough, but I’m really disappointed that I’m talking in these terms. It seems like an old cliche, but the league table never lies.
“I have a lot of respect for the Tynecastle management team of Tom and Shaun because it was Tom who signed for City. Tom is a manager who lays down the law and gets his ideas across. He is a one-off who gets the maximum from his players because you are left in no uncertain terms what you have to do on the park.
“He has gone to Tynecastle when they were second bottom of the league and now they are in the top half so obviously he is getting the best out of the players who were there and he has also added the experience of Jordan Caddow, Kevin Morrison and Jamie Speed.
“It’s a very important game for both sides and certainly at City we want the points on the board sooner rather than later to avoid any anxious moments. It will be good to pit my wits against Tom and Shaun because I have a lot to thank them for – you could say that they have been my mentors.”
Jardine welcomes back both Kenny and Robbie Ross who were at a wedding last Saturday and Miles Hunter returns after a holiday, although Ross Guthrie and Ruaraidh Scott face late fitness tests.