Midfielder Andy Black has revealed the opportunity to team up with James McDonaugh again was too good to turn down.
The 22-year-old, who joined Edinburgh City in the summer from SPFL League Two rivals Stirling Albion, has settled well into the Capital side’s engine room, starting all but one of City’s opening eight league and cup fixtures.
Delighted with the amount of game time that has come his way so far this term, Black insists the chance to be reunited with McDonaugh – his head coach from his youth days at Hibs – was a huge factor in him putting pen to paper with the Citizens.
Black spent six years on the books of the Easter Road club when McDonaugh was in charge of Hibs Under-20s before moving to Dundee on a full-time contract. The player also had a spell with Forfar prior to joining Stirling in January last year.
“The manager at Stirling (Dave Mackay) had told me before the end of last season that I probably wouldn’t be playing as much this year so I took that as him saying ‘you’re free to go kind of thing’,” Black explained.
“I had other options but I knew James really well from my time at Hibs and I really enjoyed working with him then. It was James who gave me a chance at Hibs and I played a lot of games under him. I like the way he wants to play football. When he said he was interested in taking me to Edinburgh City I jumped at the chance to be honest.
“He’s always got demands and he was like that when I was a lot younger. We’ve all got expectations of where we want to take the club.”
Black hasn’t even been in the door at Ainslie Park three months but he couldn’t be more complimentary about the set-up.
“Without a doubt it’s the most professional part-time club I’ve been at and that’s down the management team and the chairman,” he said. “It definitely feels like a full-time environment and that’s probably due to the quality of the squad we have. We don’t need the manager to tell us there is competition for places, you just have to look around the changing room. We know that if our standards drop then we might not start the next game. The club does everything right in terms of how it looks after the players and that can only be a good thing.”
Fourth-placed City have made a fine start to their league campaign having taken six points from a possible nine – their only blemish a 1-0 loss at Elgin City a fortnight ago. They are on the road again tomorrow when they visit Danny Lennon’s Clyde. It’s little more than a month ago that they were at Broadwood on Betfred Cup duty, a 4-1 penalty shoot-out success following a 1-1 stalemate in 90 minutes.
“Clyde have made a really good start to so it will be a tough match,” Black said. “They’ve got some really decent players but we’ll be going for all three points. It’s been a good start. Every team we played in the Betfred Cup finished higher than us last year so I think that gave us a sound footing going forward in the league. We’ve won two games out of three so far so I think we would have taken that before the start. I think we’ve made a few people stand up and take notice.
“I think the league is a lot better than people realise and that’s why players are making the drop down.
“The manager keeps saying to us that anything above a ninth-placed finish this year would be an improvement but we’ve got ambitions to finish higher than that. It’s too early to say what a realistic target might be but we’ll just take it game by game.”