Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine believes playing against league opposition can only benefit his players after the Lowland League Champions were paired with Queen’s Park in the first round of the Petrofac Training Cup.
City will host the Spiders at Meadowbank on Saturday 25 July. With a schedule of pre-season friendlies almost exclusively against league opposition – starting against Alloa Athletic on Wednesday evening – Jardine insists continued exposure to higher level opposition is what his players need.
“To be fair, we’d rather have had Rangers or Hibs!” he joked. “We’re delighted to be in the cup to begin with and it’s just good to play against league opposition in a competitive game. It’ll be a good test for the boys before the start of the season the week after.
“Our league is getting more competitive every season and we need to challenge ourselves and hopefully the games we’ve got in pre-season will stand us in good stead. A cup run would be good but to be in it with seven Championship clubs is fantastic for Edinburgh City. To get a run would be great but just to be there, we’re happy with that.”
City begin their Lowland League campaign the following week at home to Gretna, and preparing with a high-intensity fixture against Gus MacPherson’s side is just the kind of game Jardine wanted. “That’s what we want – that’s why we got the league clubs for the friendlies. I’m sure they’ll be using it to weed players out with trialists and things but come the 25th it’s more competitive than a friendly and that’d be the best start. We’ve got a really difficult start to the league with Gretna. Queens Park played Gretna last season and there wasn’t a goal between them so you never know – we’re looking forward to it.”