James McDonaugh looking for Edinburgh City stars to end 'great year' on a high
James McDonaugh is determined to end a productive 2019 for Edinburgh City with victory over promotion rivals Cowdenbeath tomorrow.
City have enjoyed their best calendar year since entering the SPFL and will end it in the thick of another title race after a strong opening half to the current campaign.
McDonaugh is proud of the progress made by his side. “It’s been a great year for us,” said the City boss.
“We got to the Irn-Bru Cup semi-final last season and we made the play-offs in the league after finishing with 67 points – more than double our tally from the previous season. We had a good summer, beating Dunfermline in the Betfred Cup – which was a big result for the club – we’ve had a great start in the league and we’ve progressed in the Scottish Cup so I think 2019 has been really good.”
City sit just two points off leaders Cove Rangers after winning each of their last three matches. Having won tough games against Cove, Annan and Stirling in recent weeks, McDonaugh is hoping to maintain the momentum against third-place Cowden.
“After the defeat at Hampden last month, we knew it was going to be tough because four of our next five games were against the top teams in the league,” he said. “With the fixtures we’ve had over the past few weeks we could easily have been out of the title race by now. We could have been about 11 points adrift if we hadn’t won those three games. We’ve been right at it and we’ve taken nine points from nine so it’s been great to stay in touch, especially with the players we’ve been missing.
“I’m totally content with the way the first half of the season has gone. There’s not much we can do about the fact Cove have picked up 40 points. If you look through the four top leagues in Scotland, only four teams have got more points than us - the Old Firm, Dundee United and Cove – so for us to have 38 points (from a possible 51) is testament to everyone at the football club.”
With both Hearts and Hibs inactive tomorrow, City hope to welcome a bumper festive crowd to Ainslie Park. “I need to thank our supporters,” said McDonaugh. “I feel I’ve got a good relationship with the ones we’ve got. We had a really good wee band of fans through at Stirling on Saturday and I was delighted for them that we got a last-minute winner. It made my day when I looked up and saw their jubilation. It was brilliant.
“I remember taking the job and asking about the low crowd and I was told that would change if we put a winning team on the pitch, but the crowds haven’t got as big as we’d have hoped. Hopefully we’ll get a bigger crowd than normal this weekend with it being a free Saturday for Hibs and Hearts.”