Edinburgh City boss glad board's vision is paying off ahead of Irn-Bru tie

Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh is delighted that the club's board of directors are finally seeing their vision come to fruition.

Friday, 16th November 2018, 5:30 am
James McDonaugh visited Edinburgh Castle esplanade to promote the competition
James McDonaugh visited Edinburgh Castle esplanade to promote the competition

The Citizens take a break from Ladbrokes League Two duty for the next fortnight starting with tomorrow’s visit of Alloa in the Irn-Bru Cup before fellow Championship outfit Inverness Caley Thistle descend on Ainslie Park for next Saturday’s mouthwatering William Hill Scottish Cup third-round clash.

However, it’s this weekend’s encounter that, should City win, will see them in the last four of a national cup competition for the very first time.

It’s a remarkable journey for a club that has staved off the threat of relegation twice since earning promotion from the Lowland League in April 2016.

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And City also returned to the summit of Scottish football’s fourth tier following a 2-1 win at Albion Rovers six days ago.

“It’s great for Edinburgh City to be in a quarter-final at this level,” said McDonaugh, who took over from Gary Jardine 13 months ago. “We’re well aware our next two games are against Championship clubs, who are going well, so they’ll be really difficult matches. We’ll have a go and try and play our way. If we are as good as we were against Arbroath in the last round of the Irn-Bru Cup then who knows what can happen.

“It’s great for the chairman and the board to see the club in the last eight for everything they have put in place these last few years. The guys work really hard at the top level so it’s great to see how far the club has come.”

Given City’s remarkable start to the league campaign that has taken them two points clear of nearest challengers Peterhead, McDonaugh revealed this season’s Irn-Bru Challenge Cup has always been down the pecking order in terms of priority.

“It’s still the least of our priorities,” McDonaugh admitted. “In saying that, we’ve treated every game in every competition we’ve played with respect and have never put out a weakened side. We want to win every match.

“We’ll only have about 13 or 14 tomorrow. We’re down to the bare bones so we’ll need to call upon a few of the 20s. But it will be great experience for the ones that are involved. We have got a right good 11 that start so that’s why we’ve done so well. But we do lack bodies.

“I’ve spent the last couple of days watching footage of Alloa. They’ve got a really good balance to their team. I know their full-backs well, Liam Dick I worked with at Falkirk and Scott Taggart at Hibs, so they’ve got good players all over the park. It’s a free hit for us really. A Championship team will be expected to beat a League Two side almost every time.”

McDonaugh was delighted with the response he received from his players following their first defeat in almost three months – a 1-0 loss to Clyde a fortnight ago.

The former Falkirk coach, who will be without Danny Handling and Adam Watson, not to mention long-term absentees Josh Walker and Kieran Stewart, said: “I got the response I wanted last week. It was a game that everyone expected us to win but it was a very hard-fought match. We’ve been struggling the last few weeks with numbers so we’ve not really had the chance to change or tinker with things.

“The bonus was going back to the top of the league. But it’s not just us and Peterhead that will be there, we’re just lucky to have opened up a wee gap. Having back-to-back cup ties is a good psychological boost for us.

“It’s been a real squad effort. Even the guys that haven’t been starting have been waiting patiently and they’ve stepped up in recent weeks. We don’t carry a big squad but when you’re missing six or seven it can show. We’ve continued to win though so that’s huge credit to the players.”