It’s been a frustrating first quarter of the season for Edinburgh City striker Lewis Allan, but that should be eased by the arrival of a familiar face in the dug-out.
James McDonaugh was appointed as the Ainslie Park club’s new boss last week. His first game in charge resulted in a 0-1 William Hill Scottish Cup second round defeat at home to Stenhousemuir.
The former Hibs youth coach and Falkirk assistant undertakes his first Ladbrokes League Two fixture at home to Annan Athletic tomorrow, in a game the club is billing as ‘Ladies Day.’
Allan, on-loan from Hibs, knows the new man well from the pair’s time at Easter Road and is looking forward to working with him once again.
“I was definitely pleased to see him come in,” said Allan. “Obviously I worked with him at Hibs, but I was just part-time at the club then. He was brilliant for me.
“He’s a good guy first and foremost. He’s very easy to get along with but he’ll let you know if you’ve done something wrong. He’s strict, but a very, very good coach.”
This is McDonaugh’s first foray in to management, but Allan always felt he was eventually destined to take control of a first team somewhere. “He’s so enthusiastic about football – he just loves the game,” Allan explained. “Obviously you saw what he did at Falkirk. He was very unlucky there in that they were one game away from the Premiership.
“He’s then had a disappointment this season having four league games then being sacked, but that’s football nowadays. I think it’s probably the right time for him to get in to management and I think he’ll have a long, successful career.”
In terms of style, McDonaugh prefers his teams to pass the ball, but Allan accepts that it may not always be possible in Scottish football’s fourth tier. “He wants to play football, but obviously there’s a time and place for that in this league,” said the 20-year-old. “It’s maybe not the greatest level to be trying to play like Barcelona. It can be hard to play football in this league but he knows that as well.
“When it’s time to get it down we’ll play, but when it’s time to maybe go a bit longer we’ll play like that.”
In addition to the gaffer, new first team coach Colin Jack is another Allan worked with at Hibs prior to his arrival at City. “Colin was my coach at under-15s level,” he recalled. “He’s another really good guy and a really good coach as well. I really enjoyed my time with Colin.
“It just shows you that football’s a small world. When I was being coached at under 15s I’d never have thought he was going to be my coach on loan at Edinburgh City.
“Both him and James share the same views on football and share that enthusiasm and love of the game.”
Craig Beattie was Allan’s strike partner in last week’s game at home to Stenhousemuir, but the former Scotland international is now also one rung higher up on the coaching ladder after becoming McDonaugh’s assistant.
“I suppose it’s a bit weird, but then not really because he’s always been an experienced head anyway,” he said of Beattie. “He speaks the same about the same stuff so I don’t think much will change.
“He’s got a really good insight in to the game, especially for me being a striker. It’s brilliant to pick up all the wee tips and stuff he tells me and that can only benefit me. He’s obviously got a more important role now, but he’ll be similar to how he’s always been.”
Last Friday night was Allan’s first start since the opening day of the season and he is hopeful of a few more starting berths between now and January, when his loan is set to end.
“It’s been a frustrating season so far,” he admitted. “I missed a few games through injury and thought I started well personally. Obviously results weren’t great, but I scored in the first game of the season although it’s been hard since then.
“My loan’s up in January, so the aim is to get regular game time. There’s a lot of competition but it’s very healthy. We’ve got experienced guys as well like Ashley Grimes and I can learn from him too, so it’s only going to be beneficial.”