When Edinburgh City finally recorded a first victory of any sort this season at Forfar earlier in the week, it was perhaps fitting that their leading goalscorer of the last two years found the net.
Ross Allum’s 63rd-minute strike in Tuesday’s William Hill Scottish Cup second-round replay victory at Station Park was City’s first-ever winning goal as an SPFL Club.
His fourth in all competitions this season, Allum has found goals and indeed a place in the starting line-up harder to come by in recent weeks, and admitted he needed to find the net and sample victory as much as the squad collectively.
“Having not played the last five weeks, I was just glad to be playing,” he said. “It was good to get a start, get most of the 90 minutes and to get a goal, as a striker that’s your job. For me personally it was great, and for the team overall it was long overdue, but it was massive. A great feeling.”
That feeling was manifest in the exuberant post-whistle celebrations, which was the cause of some needle with the home players and fans. “I think we’re just getting sick of the sight of each other to be honest,” suggested Allum. “We obviously celebrated the win a bit which they didn’t really enjoy and a few words were said. It was like that after the first game of the season as well [Joe Mbu and David Cox were both sent off] so I think January’s going to be interesting when we play them again!
“It was coming sooner rather than later, whoever was the first team to lose to us was going to cop a bit of celebrations. We need to keep a level head though, stay focused on what we need to do and not get carried away with our first win of the season.”
Manager Gary Jardine hailed Allum’s patience and attitude following his display in midweek, and the striker admitted it’s been difficult having to watch on from the bench. “When you’re not playing you feel a little bit hard done by and a lot of things are going through your head but you just need to keep doing the basics right and working away at training,” he insisted. “I was just trying to get the Gaffer to give me that chance. Obviously with a midweek game it meant a reshuffle of the team and I’ve got my chance a lot soon than I probably expected.”
Jardine’s suggestion that Allum had lost a bit of weight initially prompted an unprintable response from the 28-year-old, who did acknowledge that he’s feeling fitter. “I’m naturally quite a stocky guy,” he said. “Even when I do seem to put on or lose weight, it always seems to stay the bloody same! I certainly feel fitter which I think is down to the training and doing a little bit extra. Not playing as much on a Saturday I’ve been able to do things on a Sunday that’ll help, so I’m feeling good.”
Jardine has expected his players to take their fitness even more seriously since stepping up to league football, with City’s new training schedule encouraging them to take on extracurricular work. “The fact that we train on a Monday night now, the boys are maybe still carrying knocks or still a bit tight, so we can’t do as much running then as we usually do,” explained Allum. “He’s been asking a lot of guys to do their own bit and put a shift in and it looks like the majority of the boys, if not all of them, have stepped up on a Tuesday and Wednesday night when we’re free to go and do some hard running. It’s certainly benefiting us fitness wise.”
The trick now is to transfer Tuesday’s success to league games, starting with another trip to Angus to face Montrose at Links Park tomorrow, where a win for City would take them two points behind their opponents. “I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win as nothing at this stage of the season is,” Allum cautioned. “For ourselves it’s probably massive that we don’t lose but we’ll be going there for the three points. I think the last game against Montrose [a feeble 1-0 defeat at Meadowbank] sticks in the boys’ minds. We really, really let ourselves and the manager down that day. We’re looking to put that right on Saturday.”