It may not have been rewarded with any points, but Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine hopes Tuesday night’s William Hill Scottish Cup second-round replay win over Forfar can act as a catalyst for their League Two campaign.
Ross Allum’s second-half goal was enough to put the Meadowbank side through against Garry Bollan’s table-toppers at the second attempt, setting up a third-round tie away to East Fife later in the month.
It was the Lowland League champions’ first competitive win in 17 games and their first since becoming an SPFL club, the 1-0 Pyramid Play-Off second leg win over East Stirlingshire the last time Jardine’s players had tasted victory.
That was evident in the reaction from those in yellow and black at the full-time whistle, with the Forfar players and a few in the Station Park crowd taking exception to their opponents’ celebrations. In the circumstances, it was justified and the result was a credit to their team spirit and resilience according to Jardine.
“It was maybe a wee bit over the top but I’ve said time after time, there hasn’t been a lack of confidence,” he said. “They’ve worked really hard and you’ve been able to see them improving week in, week out. For a team to go that long without winning but still have that team spirit says a lot about what I’ve got in the changing room.
‘As we’ve been getting closer, it’s almost like we’ve had two sticks rubbing together and there’s been a bit of smoke, now we just need it to catch and try and put a wee run together.”
There were also words of praise for goalscorer Allum. Having led the scoring club scoring charts for the previous two seasons, the former Hill of Beath man has endured a frustrating start to life in League Two following a brace against Hamilton in the Betfred Cup group stages. After spending the last four games on the bench, extra-work on and away from the training ground and a change in approach is now paying dividends.
“Ross took his goal really well,” said Jardine. “He’s waited his time patiently. He’s scored over 50 goals in the last two years and everybody’s found this level tough, none more so than our lone striker.
“You can see he’s changed his attitude a wee bit. He’s been really down the last couple of weeks but you can see him, he’s lost a wee bit of weight and been quicker and sharper in training. I think he deserves that as much as everybody else.”
Allum and his team-mates will now have their sights on the teams directly above them in the Ladbrokes League Two table. Cowdenbeath are four points ahead in ninth, with Montrose a further point above the Blue Brazil in eighth. City are at Links Park this Saturday, and Jardine knows a much better display is required than the one produced in the Gable Endies’ 1-0 win at Meadowbank earlier this season.
“We’re not going to go over the top [after Tuesday],” he cautioned. “We think we’re a good side and think we can compete at this level. As I’ve said, we’ve been getting closer all the time. To be fair, although Montrose are low in the league like us, they’re probably the one side that came to Meadowbank and dominated us, so it’s going to be a really difficult game. Every game at this level has been really difficult to be honest, but we’ll now go and puff our chests out and take the next challenge on.”