Striker Scott Shepherd cited the chance to work with James McDonaugh again as the major selling point of his loan move to Edinburgh City.
Having worked together at Falkirk, the front man has teamed up with the former Bairns assistant manager once more, penning an emergency loan deal until January with the Ladbrokes League two club.
After a debut goal against Stirling Albion last weekend, Shepherd hopes he can help McDonaugh start putting points on the board, starting in Berwick tomorrow.
“James was the one that made my mind up to come here,” said Shepherd. “I’ve worked under him, I know he’s a good coach and obviously he’s a manager now, so I know what’ll be expected. He knows what he’ll get from me as well.
“It was the right place at the right time, but I was looking to go on loan anyway so it was a bit of both. I hadn’t really looked that much as such, then James was on and was desperate to get me. I wasn’t playing a lot of minutes at Falkirk and thought I needed to go and get game time, so Edinburgh City seemed the right move for me.
“When you’re playing development games you feel you’re not testing yourself as much. Getting out and playing first-team football against bigger, stronger boys helps.
“I’ve been on loan to League One both times before, which was alright, but this time I’m working under someone who knows me and I know them. I was only 17/18 when I went on loan previously but now I feel like I’ve progressed, I’ve got a better headspace about me. I’ve grown up a lot since then and there’s a gym at Falkirk now and using it has paid off. I feel stronger coming up against bigger opponents, which is what happens in this league.”
With time to run on his Falkirk contract and first-team experience already under his belt, Shepherd hopes to use his time in black and white to catch manager Paul Hartley’s attention as well as help City achieve their objectives.
“I’ve got until the end of next season on my deal at Falkirk,” he explained. “As well as using this move to do well for myself, I want do well for the boys, do well for City, score goals and help keep them in this league at least.”
Peter Houston’s sacking in September ended his time with McDonaugh at Falkirk, who along with coach Alan Maybury followed Houston out the door. “I thought he maybe could have gotten a chance to stay on,” said Shepherd. “It was maybe out of his hands or whatever, but they could have maybe given him a chance to see how he did.
“It’s a bit weird calling him gaffer! I’m used to just having him as a coach, but I’m getting used to it. His training is good and it looks like he’s going to make a good manager so far.”
Early signs are that Shepherd will prove to be a good acquisition as well; his opener against the Binos was fit to grace any league.
His pace in behind, coupled with the hold-up play of trialist strike partner Faird El Alagui, looks to have added a different dimension to City’s attack.
“It’s definitely one of the better ones I’ve scored,” he laughed. “Especially with my left foot – I don’t really score many with my left.
“Apart from the result we did well. I was happy to start and get off and running with a goal and hopefully there will be plenty more.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever played with Farid and I enjoyed it. He’s good to play off of as he’s good in the air, can link the play and I can run off him. Hopefully City sign him. We’ve got big [Craig] Beattie here as well, who I think I’d suit playing alongside too.
“It’s a good mix of strikers actually. James wanted me in because he had two or three strikers who could link the play, but didn’t have many who could run in behind. I obviously bring a different aspect.
“If we keep playing the way we’re playing, we just need one or two to go in. It’s frustrating because we’re just getting beat by the odd goal and I felt on Saturday we could have been two or three nil up.”