Edinburgh City braced for baptism of fire and 'just want to give good account of themselves'

Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh is anticipating a baptism of fire when Premiership outfit Livingston visit Ainslie Park tonight on Betfred Cup Group H duty.
Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh.Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh.
Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh.

The Citizens finally get their 2020/2021 campaign up and running against the West Lothian club, the Capital side's first competitive fixture since a 3-0 victory over Albion Rovers in League Two on March 7.

Their opponents, meanwhile, have taken 11 points from their first ten top-flight fixtures and currently sit sixth. Gary Holt's men are also the only side domestically to keep a clean sheet against Premiership table-toppers Rangers.

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And with this in mind, McDonaugh is hopeful it won't be a complete mismatch when his part-timers take to the field.

"The last thing we really wanted was Livingston in our first game if I am being honest," said McDonaugh, who is in the last year of his contract. "They are ten games into the Premiership season and we've only played three friendlies. We just want to give a good account of ourselves but to play a Premiership team, who had been playing games before we'd even started training, is going to be a big ask. It's the luck of the draw but I'm realistic about what we can achieve. We'll give it our best shot but we are under no illusions."

The match will take place behind closed doors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and current government restrictions, a crying shame given the level of opposition set to descend on north Edinburgh.

"Football without fans is not normal," McDonaugh said. "If you look at Sunday in the Premier League with Tottenham and Aston Villa winning by such big margins, people have been saying fans will remember these results for a long time but will they? They'll remember watching it from their settees. For our fans to miss out tonight is tough.

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"The government has taken these decisions and they've made them with an honest judgement. But there are probably little things here or there which could make things seem a little bit more straightforward.

"We've made a lot of changes at the club in the three years I have been here in terms of the professionalism so it's a shame for the new players that have come in that they've not really been able to see that. They've been turning up for training ready to go, no changing rooms, showers, video analysis, so it just looks a level below and that's something we've taken a lot of pride in, which is disappointing."

McDonaugh will be without striker Allan Smith, who is unavailable with a cruciate injury. However, he does have Blair Henderson available following a stop-start campaign last season.

He added: "Allan is probably going to miss the whole season so that's a big blow. We would have liked to have added another forward and we have tried these past few weeks. But having Blair back and fit is a real boost. He's already shown what a big player he can be for us."

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