Without a win in their opening ten Ladbrokes League Two fixtures, tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup second-round tie will give Edinburgh City some respite from what is becoming a familiar slog.
It won’t be a complete break, however, with League Two leaders Forfar Athletic the visitors to Meadowbank in a re-run of the opening game of the season.
A change in competition is welcome for left back Gordon Donaldson, although he insists any potential cup run wouldn’t be a distraction from their main aim to remain an SPFL club. “Obviously the start we’ve had hasn’t been the best, only picking up three points in our first ten games,” said the long-serving defender. “It kind of takes the pressure off that a bit though. We’re not playing for points, but we still want a good Scottish Cup run, so there’s still going to be a bit of pressure going in to the game for us.
“That was one of the low points of last year, going out of the Scottish Cup to Buckie Thistle. We lost 2-1 when they only had ten men for most of the game and we got played off the park. Even though we went up, we didn’t get a good run while the likes of East Kilbride played Celtic. We were a little bit jealous of that, so it would be good to get a run this year and that might take our minds off the league a wee bit.”
The aforementioned East Kilbride are odds-on favourites to emulate City and stroll to the Lowland League title this season, in turn landing a play-off berth against whoever their Highland League counterparts are come May. Despite their glamour encounter with Celtic last season, Donaldson wouldn’t have swapped City’s historic achievements for a crack at the Scottish champions.
“The main thing was getting promotion last season having gotten so close the year before,” he reflected. “We did look on jealously when they played Celtic, but at the end of the day they’re playing in a lower league this year so I think we got the main prize. We’ve been on a few good cup runs before in previous seasons, so it would be good to get through a few rounds, maybe to when the Premiership teams get involved.”
Just getting through tomorrow’s tie is far from a given, though. Garry Bollan’s Loons, until the last couple of weeks, were one of the form teams in the country and are sure to be in contention for the League Two title this term.
Outsiders will compare that to City’s lowly position and assume an away win. However, Donaldson believes the 3-2 defeat in the season opener showed there is little between the sides over 90 minutes.
“We were pretty unlucky to lose that day,” he recalled. “They got a bit of a dodgy penalty early doors and we hit the bar in the last minute, so we can definitely compete against them. Obviously they’re a decent team being top of the league, but they have lost a few games recently so that shows they’re not unbeatable.
“The way things have been working out, it would be typical that we get our first win but no points for it. This league has shown in the last few weeks that anyone can go and beat anyone. We’re only on three points just now, but we should definitely be on more than that. It just seems that the games we’ve drawn we should have won and the ones we’ve lost we should have gotten at least a point. We need to get our first win eventually, so it might as well come on Saturday.”
Last weekend’s loss to Clyde was another case of City getting less than they felt they deserved. A late Craig Beattie header from a Donaldson cross was ruled out late on, although the 25-year-old revealed that his team-mate had a fair idea as to why. “At the time I didn’t see anything wrong so I was right up to the referee giving him a bit if abuse,” he admitted. “After the game I spoke to Beats and he said he pushed him so it probably shouldn’t have been given. Gary [Jardine] showed us the highlights back and there was a slight push. You’ve seen them given before so it was just one of those thing, but hopefully any goals stand this week.”