Buoyant Edinburgh City believe the sky is the limit after they won promotion to SPFL League Two.
The Lowland League champions edged a tense pyramid play-off against East Stirlingshire 2-1 on aggregate after Dougie Gair scored a decisive late penalty in Saturday’s second leg at Ochilview.
There were jubilant scenes among the City players and supporters as the Meadowbank side ensured there will be three clubs from the Capital in the Scottish league set-up for the first time since Meadowbank Thistle morphed into Livingston 21 years ago.
Manager Gary Jardine insists his team are not entering the SPFL just to make up the numbers and, having seen relatively new senior clubs such as Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle make it all the way to the top flight, he believes City can enjoy their own surge up the leagues in due course.
“Hibs are in the Championship just now and there’s no reason why there can’t be another Edinburgh club in the Championship within five years,” Jardine told the Evening News. “You look at what the likes of Ross County and Inverness have done since they came into the league. We just want to find our level but we’re in a huge city with loads of people in it so there’s no reason why we can’t grow and evolve.”
Jardine insists City will continue to develop their own players but believes SPFL status will allow the club to increase their fanbase and recruit from an improved talent pool.
“It will take time to increase the fanbase but Edinburgh as a city has an ever-increasing population,” he said. “People who come to the city who don’t have an affiliation to Hearts or Hibs should come along to Meadowbank because we play a good brand of football and score lots of goals. I think we’ll definitely be able to get good attendances for League Two.
“We’re a forward-thinking club who promote our own players. We do things the right way. For example, we kept our prices at £5 for the first leg of the play-off last week. We’re not a wealthy club but we can offer lots of other things to players. We’ve got good players here but because we’re in the central belt and we’re in League Two, that will make it easier to attract more good players.”