If their first two results signalled the end of Edinburgh City’s honeymoon period following their promotion to Ladbrokes League Two, tomorrow’s trip to Cowdenbeath literally is for captain Dougie Gair.
The returning skipper is due to make his first appearance for Gary Jardine’s side since the Betfred Cup Group G home defeat to Livingston a month ago. A combination of his stag do, wedding to partner Frances and honeymoon meant Gair missed the subsequent cup fixtures and City’s opening two league defeats to Forfar and Elgin respectively.
After a memorable summer, it’s back to reality now. “It was my first day back at work this week so I eased myself in with a nice easy day!” laughed the personal trainer. “I’ve had a couple of sessions back with the boys so settling back in to it has been alright so far. Being a PT is handy as it’s been double sessions all the way, so I’m just trying to get in the gym when I can and this weather helps to get out and about.
“The last game I played in was the Livingston game and I was feeling really good and really strong, then the wedding came along! That and honeymoon sort of set me back a bit and I’m at square one having to do a second pre-season, but a lot quicker. Hopefully it won’t take me too long.”
Gair revealed he wasn’t completely cut off from goings on whilst attending to his various wedding duties. “For the Ayr game I was on my stag do,” he explained. “I was at Newcastle races but I was on my phone the whole time. On the wedding day I had people filling me in [on events against St Mirren] – ‘you’re 1-0 down, you’re 3-0 down’ and I was like ‘alright, dinnae tell me anymore!’
“For the Forfar game I was away on an island in Croatia and was saying to the missus, ‘we cannae move, we’ve got wifi here, the game’s on so we’re staying where we are’ ... it was nearly marriage over at that point! I managed to keep up to date and have caught up since I’ve been back. I was up in Elgin last Saturday and hopefully I can get back in the squad ASAP.”
In Cowdenbeath, City face the only other club yet to register a point in League Two, and while Gair echoes his manager in that panic is premature, the newcomers want to avoid being cut adrift early on. “We’re playing for the wooden spoon this weekend,” he joked. “One of us is going to have to take some points and hopefully it’s us. We’re going to have to learn quickly and get streetwise to play at this level.”
What should be acknowledged is the paucity of City’s resources in comparison to the rest of the division. Tomorrow’s opponents have formed an unofficial link with Hearts since Liam Fox took over, bringing in Lewis Moore and Bulgarian striker Nikolay Todorov on loan.
“There’s no doubt we’ve got the least money in the league,” said Gair pragmatically. “There’s some crazy money getting banded about and our wage bill will probably be tenth out of ten so we know we’re up against it. Other clubs can maybe get players in who have played at the highest level and bring in good loans, but we have boys who are good enough and we just have to realise that potential we have.”
This level of football is a new experience for the club as a whole and that’s what prevented Gair from ending his 12-year City career in the summer. “A big pull for me staying this year was going to new grounds and seeing new teams and playing against new players,” he said. “Once that’s out the way, we’ll settle down and hopefully go on to bigger and better things.”
• Edinburgh City have announced a new partnership with the charity Barnardos of Edinburgh. The club hope to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers in the Capital and to encourage more foster families to attend local football matches.