Edinburgh City goalkeeper Calum Antell acknowledged his team were fortunate not to spend Christmas Day bottom of the entire SPFL, and isn’t contemplating doing so as 2017 becomes 2018.
City host Clyde tomorrow following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Annan. Only a dramatic comeback from Peterhead prevented Cowdenbeath leapfrogging City, and Antell is determined to avoid a similar scare by registering three points against the Bully Wee.
“It was a good one for us but, as a group of players and coaching staff, we know we shouldn’t be where we are,” said the Welshman.
“The table doesn’t lie at Christmas – we are where we are. We were fortunate not to be bottom because I think Cowdenbeath were winning with about ten minutes to go and ended up losing 3-2.
“We don’t want or have to go bottom for us to realise where we are but we were quite lucky to get away with that one on Saturday, to be fair. “The next three games are crucial now I think. We’ll be going in to them like we always do, trying to win, but I think now it’s crucial that if we don’t win them, we don’t get beat.
“Over the next three I think we need to be picking up maximum points as I think they could define out season.”
Clyde were the last opponents City beat back in September, when a stoppage-time Craig Beattie header was followed two screamers from Karim Belmokhtar at Broadwood. Despite recent results, knowing they’ve already beaten their opponents this term should inspire some belief at City.
“It’s weird, because in the games that we’ve won, we’ve not actually played as well as when we’ve lost games,” Antell explained. “I think that’s been the story of our season. We’ll take confidence from the previous game and, if we can try and take nine points from the next three, hopefully that can kick-start the second half of our season, which we need badly.”
This will, of course, be a somewhat different Clyde team, with former St Mirren boss Danny Lennon having taken the reins since Jim Chapman’s departure. “A lot of the teams down the bottom have changed their managers, and had different bits of luck and whatnot,” said Antell. “Our gaffer’s been different class since he’s come in and as a bunch of players we’re disappointed we haven’t got any wins for him.
“He’s given everyone a big confidence boost since he’s come in so we need to start winning games for him as well as ourselves.
“If you’ve watched us over the last few weeks you’d say there’s definitely been an improvement – we’re a lot harder to beat. We’ve drawn the last eight games at half-time or some ridiculous stat like that. We just can’t get games over the line at the minute.
“Once we get that win, I think it really will kick-start our season, but we need to start winning soon and get the points on the board.”
A decision or two going City’s way would help in that regard. They had what they felt were two good goals chalked off and a penalty denied at Galabank, which only added to the sense that they need a break to go with a performance.
“When you’re down the bottom of the league, those are the sort of things that don’t go your way,” reflected Antell. “We had two goals chalked off and I still don’t know why that second one was disallowed, to be honest. The ref’s said it’s for offside but there’s three people on the line so I don’t understand how it can be I don’t even think the ball went forward as every time there was a deflection it seemed to go back the way.
“I don’t know how we didn’t take anything out of that game but that’s the way it goes when you’re down there. You need to make your own luck rather than waiting or hoping for officials to make decisions. It was disappointing because I think we deserved a least a point.
“We need to find that balance of being hard to beat and scoring goals. We’re either scoring goals and making mistakes at the back or we’re solid but not scoring. It’s a bit of a nightmare at the minute but we can only pull ourselves out of it. We’re looking forward to the next three games and hopefully we pick up maximum points.”