EDINBURGH CITY chairman Jim Lumsden is thrilled that Meadowbank will be the first ground in Scotland to host a pyramid play-off game.
Playing at home in the first game of a two-legged tie has traditionally been seen as something to avoid in football, but Lumsden is delighted that his club will make history against Highland League champions Brora Rangers at Meadowbank on Saturday.
City travel to Dudgeon Park on May 2 to determine who will progress to face League Two’s bottom club, Montrose, for the prize of becoming a SPFL club next season. Rather than seeing that as a disadvantage, Lumsden is excited about what is in store.
“We’re hoping for a really good crowd in as much that it’s a piece of history,” he said.
“It’s the first-ever pyramid play-off match and we’re really pleased that it’s at our ground. Not everybody at the club wanted to be at home first but personally, I did. I just think the publicity of it being the very first match will be much better and we hope that’ll be reflected in the amount of people who turn up.
“It’ll be the biggest game we’ve ever played in my time at the club, and even since we moved to Meadowbank 18 years ago. There’s going to be a lot of focus and it’ll be similar to playing a big Scottish Cup tie in respect of preparation – we’ll have people in hospitality, a lot of press coming and all kinds of things so we’re just really looking forward to it.”
Much has been made of Brora’s reluctance to gain promotion from the Highland League, with many at the club feeling a move to the SPFL would prove a financial nightmare. Chairman John Young has admitting the club had explored every option that would allow them not to take part in the play-offs.
Lumsden, meanwhile, admitted City knew from the start what winning the league would involve and the club are relishing potentially giving the Capital a third league club for the first time since Meadowbank Thistle became Livingston in 1995. “We signed up to this – we knew when we applied to play in the Lowland League what the consequences [of winning the title] would be and what was on offer so we went into it with our eyes open.
“We’re just focusing on what we’re about and, if we can win the two matches then great. If not, we’ve had a great season. This isn’t something that’ll be a one-off – if we come up short this time, there’s next season and the season after that. It’s never going to go away. When you get your shot at it you need to throw everything at it.
“We’ve got a bronze [SFA club] licence so that covers us for just about everything for joining the SPFL. It [becoming a league club] would be something to really look forward too, especially for myself being a Meadowbank Thistle supporter! It’s a bit daunting as well but, as I said, we signed up to it so we’ll just keep trying our best to get to where we need to be.
“The standard in the Lowland League is going up with clubs coming through all the time – and there’s some really good clubs there who will challenge next season so it’ll be interesting, whatever league we’re in!”