Having pulled off a great escape from its English equivalent last season, Marc Laird believes his experience of helping Yeovil Town retain their league status can only aid Edinburgh City’s quest to remain in Ladbrokes League Two.
Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to title-chasing Arbroath, eighth-placed City are four points ahead of bottom club Cowdenbeath with four games to play. While one more win should be just about enough to keep them out of the Pyramid Play-Off position, there remains work to be done.
Laird found himself in a similar situation last term with the Glovers, who like City endured an horrendous start to the season before eventually achieving safety. It’s something the midfielder is keen to repeat, having sampled relegation from League One with Tranmere the year before last.
“I was saying to Gary [Jardine, City manager] the other day, we were in a really poor situation with Yeovil up until the end of last season,” Laird recalled. “It was similar to when I joined City in that we were struggling massively and I think we only had 11 points until near the end of January. Nobody gave us an even chance of staying up but we turned it round and managed to stay up by about eight or nine points. In the end it was comfortable.
“I have been relegated unfortunately – with Tranmere – and that was not a nice feeling. I’ve been part of teams that have been successful as well, with Millwall going for promotion and then obviously Southend, so I’ve had a bit of experience both ways. Hopefully my experience will help the boys that maybe haven’t been involved in a scrap. We’ve got quite a lot of experience in the dressing room now, so hopefully that can be passed on.”
Last weekend’s last-gasp 1-1 draw with current favourites for the drop Cowdenbeath was a big disappointment having led until virtually the last kick. Bigger picture however, it’s still a result that suited the hosts more than The Blue Brazil. “On the balance of play, they were the better team in the first half with the better chances and we were probably lucky going in ahead at half-time,” Laird admitted. “Second half there wasn’t much created from either team so it sort of balanced itself out and it was probably a fair result.
“We’re still in the driving seat and in the ascendancy. It’s in our hands and we can only look after ourselves and not worry about what the teams below us are doing. As long as we pick up points and pick up wins between now and the end of the season, we’ll be fine.”
That task begins at Gayfield tomorrow. The Red Lichties are a point behind local rivals and league leaders Forfar at the other end of the division. Having previously won away to both this season, Laird and his team-mates head to Angus with belief. “We went up there and had a fantastic result,” said the 31-year-old. “My first game for City was the three-all game at home, and then the game after Christmas they won 2-0, but I didn’t think there was much in it.
“We have nothing to fear. As long as we turn up and stick to Gary’s game plan, hopefully we can get what would be an invaluable three points.”
Laird also reckons the pressure on Arbroath to stay on Forfar’s coat tails in the title race can help the visitors. “It depends how they handle it,” he explained. “It could be something they’re excited about or it could be nerve-wracking. Some of them might not have been in a title-winning or promoted team before, so it’ll probably be a bit of both for them. Hopefully the fans get a bit apprehensive.
“A lot of people probably don’t expect you to go and beat these teams when they’re top two in the league. A lot of teams probably didn’t expect us to beat Elgin 3-0 at home, but I don’t think there’s much in the league. As long as you stick to what your manager asks for, everybody has an opportunity to push on.”