Keeper’s dream debut gives Edinburgh City boss a big hand

Edinburgh City players celebrate Ashley Grimes' winner against Berwick
Edinburgh City players celebrate Ashley Grimes' winner against Berwick
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As debuts go, Fraser Morton’s for Edinburgh City against Berwick Rangers last week was as close to perfect as he could realistically expect.

A first win of the season, coming by way of an early goal, a clean sheet and man-of-the -match performance from the 18-year-old goalkeeper made for a good afternoon all round.

Whether he starts again in tomorrow’s game at Clyde remains to be seen, but what is evident is that Gary Jardine has an able deputy and more than useful competition for first choice Calum Antell.

“In terms of how it went, it couldn’t have gone any better for me personally,” said Morton of his maiden top team outing. “It was a great day for the team too. I didn’t know I was playing until about an hour and a half before game after Calum had called in sick. I’m not really sure if that was helpful or not.. Maybe I would have over-thought it, but it seemed to turn out okay so I’m not going to complain!

“I don’t really get that nervous. There was maybe a little bit of pressure in the first few minutes until I got a couple of touches, but no nerves as such. I just got settled and began to think about my game.

“Getting the early goal was a huge help – we couldn’t have started any better. The ball had hardly been in open play before the free-kick was given so it was a perfect start.”

The fact that City hadn’t recorded a win prior to last week conversely meant there was likely little pressure on a teenage goalkeeper, pictured right, making his first-team bow.

“You don’t really think about the past or previous results, you just deal with the game in front of you,” said Morton. “In that sense, I didn’t feel any pressure. Things hadn’t really gone our way before last week, but we’ve virtually got a new team that’s been rebuilt over the summer so you’d expect it to take a few games to get bedded in, find the best formation and the best team etc.”

Finding a team wasn’t a major priority for Morton after moving to Edinburgh to attend university in 2016. Having left Queen of the South, he was content playing student football until the opportunity to join City’s Under-20s.

“It was the tail end of January, start of February when I joined the under-20s,” he recalled. “Those six months playing regularly for the 20s really helped. Playing one or two games a week for three or four months was brilliant. Having that game time really helped my development in the build up to becoming part of the first-team squad.

“When I first signed it was only the 20s I was expecting to play for. Then I was called upon in pre-season to fill in for Calum when he was absent, and it’s just gone on from there, helping out as back up.

“I was with Queen of the South from the Under-17s to the Under-20s, and managing to sign with another league club after moving up to Edinburgh for Uni couldn’t have gone any better.

“I’m studying Physical Activity and Health at Queen Margaret. I’ve just started second year. I was playing for the Uni but wasn’t doing all that much in terms of football.

“It’s great to get back in to club football though, which became my intention after a while. Uni football’s okay but I missed the club environment”

The dressing-room at City has certainly helped with the transition. “The boys are spot on,” said Morton. “It’s been strange with a lot of people coming in but I’ve settled in really quickly and it’s a great group of lads. Working with Calum and Babs [Alan MacKintosh, goalkeeping coach] has been brilliant. It’s been a great experience.”

As for another potential outing at Broadwood, Morton isn’t taking last week for granted. “Who knows?,” he said. “The team needed a kickstart last week, I just hope this is it 
and we can do similar again tomorrow.”