Fit-again Craig Beattie believes Edinburgh City now have the required goal threat to go along with the defensive organisation that they hope will keep them in Ladbrokes League Two.
February signings Lewis Allan and Derek Riordan both bagged their first goals for the club at the weekend as City came from behind to dramatically beat table-topping Forfar at Station Park.
It was a great start to what could be a defining week for Gary Jardine’s men, who can leapfrog Berwick Rangers with a win over them at Meadowbank tonight, before facing ninth-placed Clyde at Broadwood on Saturday.
Now with options up front, Beattie believes City are well equipped at both ends of the pitch to ensure safety. “It’s hard scoring goals,” said the former Scotland international. “We set out not to lose goals, not to concede and make games difficult. We’ve got a good structure and a good basis, so it’s difficult for lads to get up and down the park and create those chances, but we’re working hard.
“Even when it wasn’t going well for us at the start of the season, we were still playing well and hanging in there. Apart from Elgin, we haven’t been beaten out of sight in any game and that’s due to the foundations that’s we’ve built. It’s difficult one to say we don’t score enough because we give ourselves that foundation in games to build on and we’ve enough games to get plenty points on the board.
“I’m enjoying it and it’s going well at the minute, but we’re still in a fight at the bottom of the league and we need to keep wining games and keep progressing.”
Cowdenbeath’s own victory over tonight’s opponents at the weekend illustrated the need to do just that, with four teams all seeking to avoid a Pyramid Play-Off date in May. “Anybody can beat anybody in this league,” said Beattie. “We probably burst every coupon in the UK on Saturday. No question Forfar were the favourites and looked like a home banker, but anybody who’s done their homework will know we’d already played them five times this year and hadn’t lost up there and are level on goal difference across those games. That’s credit to the lads and how they’ve been working.”
Riordan’s arrival to play alongside Beattie has certainly increased City’s know-how in the goalscoring department. With over 150 career goals and ten caps between them, it’s a strike force with experience that few teams in the country can boast of, let alone League Two.
With Allan on hand to do the running that he and Riordan probably don’t have in the legs anymore, Beattie feels there’s a good balance that can bring goals. “We’re both old experienced,” he laughed. “What we’ve lost physically we’ve got in knowledge and experience. Derek got the goal and I think we linked up and worked pretty well on Saturday. We’ve only had a couple of sessions together so with young Lewis to give us the legs and energy when he came on. It bodes well.
“I played with Deeks at Celtic when [Gordon] Strachan was the manager. We came through Scotland groups together too so I know how he likes to play. I know he hasn’t had a club for a wee while but he came in and played 90 minutes at the weekend. I thought one of us was going to be taken off for the third sub. We looked round and thought we were going to have to play rock, paper scissors to see who it was! We both got through it though and felt really good.”
It was Beattie’s first full 90 minutes in black and white, having just returned from injury. “I had a wee niggle in my thigh,” he explained. “It took a wee while to settle down so I’ve been working hard in the background. I just want to get as many games in a possible now. The gaffer asked me last Thursday what I thought I could get in – I told him about 20 minutes but he decided to start me! It’s been case of recovering for tonight and hopefully I get the nod again.”