Dougie Gair savours highlight of Edinburgh City career

Edinburgh City celebrate. Picture: Greg Macvean
Edinburgh City celebrate. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Edinburgh City captain Dougie Gair lifted the Lowland League trophy after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Gretna 2008 and hailed it as the highlight of his City career.

The Meadowbank club were confirmed as champions last weekend and were presented with the silverware by SFA Chief Executive Stewart Regan in front of their home fans.

Gair, who has spent nearly a decade with the club, won the East of Scotland Premier Division in 2005/06, but ranked this season’s triumph as the crowning moment of his time in black and white. “It’s definitely up there in terms of City stuff,” said the skipper. “Winning the Lowland League is a big achievement for the whole club. We’ve won the league before, but nothing compares to this – this is special. I’m delighted we’ve won the league but we need to crack on now.

“Since we won it last week there’s been a lot of things said – people have been saying we’d fall away in terms of results after losing to Dalbeattie. With the wind at Meadowbank it’s just horrific when it’s blowing a gale and there wasn’t ever going to be any football played today, but we’ll take the point and crack on with it.”

The squad and players shared their moment with their families on the pitch and Gair admitted celebrations would continue into the night. “We had the big one last weekend but I’m sure the boys will get up to something – I’ve got a free pass with my missus being out!”

The game itself was a drab 0-0 affair in contrast to the scenes that followed. Scott Milligan had the first effort after a cagey opening, but his dipping volley was too high to trouble Andrew Stobie in the City goal. Ross Allum’s 25th-minute shot from the edge of the area represented the sum of City’s attacking efforts to that point, but it was comfortably held by Craig Murray. Ian McFarland’s curling effort then caught the wind but drifted harmlessly wide.

City began the second period with more of an attacking purpose. Allum’s driving run shortly after the break took him deep into the Gretna box, but his cutback was blocked with skipper Dougie Gair waiting for a tap in. John Dunn then forced an excellent stop from Murray. McFarland picked him out with a clever quick corner, and the No.10 flicked the ball up before sending a fierce volley goalwards that was palmed away.

The hosts almost took the lead in bizarre fashion with eight minutes left when McFarland’s corner caught the wind and landed on the roof of the net. Only a fingertip save prevented Allum breaking the deadlock on 85 minutes after he blasted a free-kick from 19 yards.

Gretna almost snatched it at the death when Milligan’s shot from close range required two attempts from Stobie to gather before City missed a great opportunity seconds later. Allum raced in behind the Gretna 
defence and slid the ball across goal to the on-rushing McConnell, who fired over.

City boss Gary Jardine was happy with the clean sheet and praised his back five for their solidity over the season.

“Again, I’m proud of my goalkeeper and defenders – in fact, we defended from the front really well,” he said.

“Winning the league while we were training wasn’t great and then obviously the defeat last Sunday, but to actually get the trophy on our home ground makes it a lot sweeter.”

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, 
Donaldson, Harrison, Paterson, McKee, McFarland, Gair (Deniran 64), Allum, Dunn (Guthrie 77), McConnell.

Gretna 2008: Murray, Graham, Thorburn, Wood, Inglis, Addison, Longcake, Main, Anderson, Milligan, Graham (Wallace 72).