Edinburgh City forward Danny Handling relishing Scottish Cup tussle with Aberdeen mate Dylan McGeouch

Edinburgh City's Danny Handling is looking forward to locking horns with his good friend Dylan McGeouch in the Granite City this weekend.

By Neil McGlade
Friday, 21st January 2022, 7:00 am
Danny Handling believes Edinburgh City can give a good account of themselves now that their key men are back from injury
Danny Handling believes Edinburgh City can give a good account of themselves now that their key men are back from injury

The Citizens take a break from League Two duty tomorrow as they make the trip north for a mouth-watering Scottish Cup fourth-round clash against top-flight Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

It's the first time in the Capital club's history that they have reached the last 32 of the competition.

And Handling, who wasn't stripped but was part of the matchday squad as Hibs defeated Rangers 3-2 to end their 114-year hoodoo by lifting the cup in 2016, is relishing his personal battle against one of the Easter Road men's star players from that day at Hampden almost six years ago.

Dylan McGeouch could feature for Aberdeen against Edinburgh City on Saturday

Former team-mate McGeouch, who left Hibs for Sunderland in 2018 before being lured back north of the border with the Dons two years later, is expected to be given the nod by Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass after he was an unused substitute in the 1-1 draw with Rangers on Wednesday night.

"It will be good to play against Dylan if he's picked – I'm still really friendly with him from our time at Hibs," Handling told the Evening News.

"I watched the game against Rangers and even their bench included the likes of Dylan, Matty Kennedy and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, so they have a lot of players who would walk into any other top-flight team.

"But we have got players who have played at a good level so that's where we'll need to use our experience to help some of the younger boys.

"There will be nerves right up until the first whistle but once it goes, you don't even notice it as it's just another game of football.

"It's an opportunity for some of the group to go and play at a big venue in front of a decent crowd. It's a free hit.

"We're not naive to think we're going to go up there and turn them over. We are fully aware we're massive underdogs where we're expected to get beat six or 7-0. But we feel we can go and put in a performance and make a game of it.

"Smaller clubs like ourselves are desperate for these big ties. When you're sat at home watching the draw you want to be paired with a big club even if it lessens your chances of going through. It maybe sounds strange but that's the way it is.

"Everyone involved in the club is really looking forward to it. It's probably the biggest match in the club's history as we're up against one of the biggest and best sides in Scotland. With it being at Pittodrie the club stand to make quite a bit of money too."

Handling has only recently returned from a niggling ankle injury but scored last week as Gary Naysmith's players fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against league leaders Kelty Hearts.

He added: "I've played 90 minutes the last two weeks but I feel okay. I was happy with the way I played against Elgin and I scored against Kelty so long may it continue.

"I feel sorry for the gaffer because he's never had a full-strength squad to choose from this season.

"But we've brought in players this month so we've got a big squad. Once we get everyone fit, there are going to be a lot of boys sitting in the stand."