Red-hot Edinburgh City hitkid Mark Osborne will be hoping to take his Lowland League scoring form into tomorrow’s Scottish Cup tie at home to Highland League side Fort William.
The 18-year-old is the division’s top scorer so far with five goals in three league fixtures.
A double on the opening day was followed by a derby- winning penalty against Spartans, while another brace helped overcome Dalbeattie Star last weekend.
Osborne also provided the assist for John Dunn to open the scoring in the win over Spartans. Despite having such an influence on the Meadowbank team’s attacking success this season, the teenage striker admits he is surprised to have been so heavily involved.
“I never really thought I’d be starting so many games at the start of the season” he said. “I’ve worked hard to get in the team. Gary’s [Jardine] put so much faith in me and I’ve been paying him back so far. I just hope that carries on.”
Osborne was brought in to the first-team fold mid-way through last season, and admits he’s had to adapt to in order to cope with the step up.
He added: “The speed of the game is much quicker and also the people I was playing against last year were all the same age as me. I’m only 18 and I’m playing against 35-36-year-olds, so it’s very different.”
While Osborne has more than held his own against more seasoned opponents, he pointed out just how much of a challenge it is to stay in the side.
“Guys like Peter Stenhouse have been here for a few years now so I’ve been doing well to keep good players like that out of the team,” he explained.
The Scottish Cup always brings a touch of added excitement to non-league clubs and, while tomorrow’s encounter is just a preliminary round, Osborne admits the prospect of potentially facing league clubs later in the competition will give his side extra motivation.
He said: “Obviously I’ve seen Edinburgh City do well the last couple of years, getting to the second round etc. Last year we lost to Fraserburgh 2-0 so hopefully this year we can go on a run and maybe draw a big team.”
Osborne admits tomorrow’s opponents are something of an unknown quantity to him.
“I don’t really know what Fort William are like as a team so we don’t really know what we’re expecting,” he said. “We’ll approach it like every other game at Meadowbank and treat them with respect.”
Osborne’s manager Gary Jardine is fully focused on the tie and highlighted the importance of this competition. He said: “The Scottish Cup is always massive for the club. When it comes round, historically we’ve done really well in the opening rounds and we’re well prepared for this game.”
City are not the only Lowland League team from the Capital embarking on their cup campaign this weekend as Edinburgh University travel to Hurlford United in their preliminary round tie.
The Students have found results difficult to come by since beginning their maiden Lowland League season, and manager Dorian Ogunro is expecting a tough game when they take on the 2014 Junior Cup winners.
“Last season we got Spartans in this round and this year we have the Scottish Junior Cup champions so it’s not easy in the slightest,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough draw, and we’re just looking for a good performance to be honest.”