Former Edinburgh City boss Jardine is helping coach Strollers

Gary Jardine
Gary Jardine
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Civil Service Strollers boss Alex Cunningham has revealed former Edinburgh City manager Gary Jardine has been taking his team’s training sessions for the past month.

Jardine, who guided City to back-to-back Lowland League titles before achieving promotion to SPFL 2 in May 2016, has been out of the game since leaving the Capital side in September following a poor run of results.

However, Cunningham insists it has been a worthwhile exercise having someone of Jardine’s calibre on board as he looks to end 2017 on a high.

Strollers face a tricky encounter this evening as they travel to Alloa’s Indodrill Stadium to play hosts and current league leaders, BSC Glasgow. And Cunningham is hopeful his players are better equipped to cope with the challenge ahead.

“Gary has been in for the past couple of weeks to help out so he’s taken some of our training sessions and given his take on things,” Cunningham explained.

“I don’t know if our club is of the standard he’d like to become involved in long term given where he’s come from but we haven’t had a chat about that yet. There has been a freshness about things, though, so it’s been really refreshing to see.

“I’ve known him for a long time so it’s all pretty loose at the moment but I’m sure we’ll have a talk about where we go from here. Gary’s the sort of guy who needs to be involved in football because he’s got so much to offer. You can see he’s definitely still got the appetite that’s for sure. It’s always hard when you’ve done something for such a long time to then find yourself out of things.”

Cunningham’s men were the first team to inflict defeat on BSC this season, a 4-2 victory at Christie Gillies Park in October putting an end to their opponents’ 12-game unbeaten run. Strollers have been inconsistent of late with just one victory in the league since. However, the former Spartans EoS manager was encouraged by his player’s display in last weekend’s 1-1 stalemate with Cumbernauld Colts.

“It was hard to take last week losing a goal in injury time as the boys played really well,” he said. “We missed two or three really good opportunities to put the game to bed and we destroyed them in the first half. We have to take that energy going forward now and we know that BSC will be out for revenge on us tonight. But we can take a lot of encouragement having beaten them earlier on in the season so it would be great to finish this year with a win. We’re going there with no fear and if we keep playing the way we have been then we’ll have a right good chance. Hopefully we give a good account of ourselves and then that should stand us in good stead for the following week against Spartans.”

Cunningham admits he would love to bolster his squad next month with a couple of new additions.

“I think we’ve definitely improved this year but we now need to look at what’s the next step to take us forward,” he said. “We want to try and get ourselves into the top half or even the top four because it means so much in terms of revenue. That’s where we’re at so that’s the challenge that lies ahead. I think we need to add a couple of players next month so we’re not that far away from being a really good side. If we could bring in another striker and a centre-half then I’d be reasonably happy.”

Meanwhile, Whitehill Welfare welcome old foes and title favourites Spartans to Rosewell tomorrow. It will be the second time in just four weeks the two sides have met, Spartans having eased through to the Football Nation Qualifying Cup quarter-finals with a 5-0 win at Ferguson Park earlier this month.