Lewis McLear may have signed on to help Edinburgh City ensure they confirm their likely SPFL League Two status for next season, but he could just have easily been lining up for the division’s other ECFC.
The former St Mirren youngster has signed until the end of the current campaign and made his full debut in the weekend defeat by Montrose after appearing as a trialist against Berwick Rangers and Stirling Albion respectively.
However, it was an encounter with City’s first-team coach Colin Jack during the Capital side’s 4-0 home win over Elgin – who McLear had been on trial with – that lead to him joining James McDonaugh’s squad.
“When I left St Mirren I was on trial at numerous teams and Elgin was one of them,” McLear said. “It was actually at Elgin where I tore my ligaments in a trial game, but they were still keen to sign me.
“By January time my ankle was a lot better so I phoned up all the clubs that were interested in me, Elgin being one of them. They said they’d take me back in so I was trialling there for a while.
“It was then at the Edinburgh v Elgin game at Ainslie Park that Colin, who I knew from when I was at Hibs when I was younger, had a wee chat with me and said they’d be interested in me.
“Elgin then said they had to wait 30 days for clearance or something, but I’m not 100 per cent sure, there was a bit of a breakdown in communication. It then turned out James was happy to have me in and get me signed up, which I was more than happy to do.”
McLear had been playing with Junior outfit Blantyre Victoria, but a combination of injury and bad weather meant time on the pitch was limited. Now back in at semi-pro level, he’s keen to show what he can do in order to potentially win an extended deal with City.
“I did actually go Junior just to try and get some game-time, but then with my ankle not being right and the weather being so bad it just didn’t happen,” he said. “Obviously I’m happy to get back in to professional football and if the offer is there to stay for next season then I don’t see why not.
“I’m definitely looking to get back in to the mix, but I think at this point in time what I’m needing is a decent pre-season in me. I’m definitely lacking in that department. I played 90 minutes on Saturday, which came as a small surprise to me. I’m happy with the trust the manager’s shown in me though.
“It was a disappointing scoreline, but what I can take from it is that I played 90 minutes so I’m happy in that sense. Again, if the offer is there to stay I’d be happy to.”
After leaving full-time football with the Buddies, McLear has taken the opportunity afforded by a part-time career to set up his own business, which should benefit him on the fitness front. “I’m a personal trainer,” he explained. “Basically St Mirren put me through my level-two gym instructor course and then I thought I’d be as well getting my level-three done when I came out of there.
“Now that I’m part-time it’s a good wee gig to do. It makes me happy – I’m helping people out in the time I’ve got spare.”
What would make McLear and his team-mates even happier is City confirming their Ladbrokes League Two survival at home to Stenhousemuir on Saturday – and Cowdenbeath’s home match with Montrose being postponed in the midweek gives them the opportunity.
City go in to the game ten points ahead of the Blue Brazil, who still have a game in hand. However, victory over Stenhousemuir coupled with a Clyde win at Central Park would leave McDonaugh’s men 13 points ahead with Cowden only having 12 left to play for.
With Stenny still embroiled in a battle for play-off spots, however, it’ll be easier said than done.
“Obviously the best option will be to win the game,” said McLear. “We’ll go out and see what we can do, but we need to bounce back from the result last Saturday.
“As the manager said, it was over after 18 minutes so we need to be a unit this week, be hard to break down then try and get a result from there.”