If this is to be Edinburgh City captain Dougie Gair’s final season at Meadowbank, the midfielder can think of no finer way to mark it than with a second-successive Ferrari Packaging Lowland League title, a South Challenge Cup win and ultimately, promotion to the SPFL.
The former can be confirmed with a home win over Stirling University tomorrow – an achievement Gair will be immensely proud of no matter what the future holds for him or his club.
“I said last year when we won it that it was going to be incredibly tough to do it again,” he recalled. “Touch wood we will do it again and it would be a proud achievement for the team and, as captain, a very proud moment personally to take the guys there. It’s potentially my last as well – the boots are in the process of being hung up so to go out with two league titles and hopefully the cup as well would be great.
“It’s getting to the stage now where other factors are coming in to play. I’m the type of guy that over the last 12 years has been dedicated to Edinburgh City 100 per cent and it’s getting to the stage where other factors aren’t allowing me to do that. I’m either all in or not in at all, so I’ve got a bit of thinking to do over the next few weeks and then I’ll speak to Gary [Jardine] and make my mind up. Promotion at the end of the season would be massive for the club, massive for the guys and massive for me, so that’s the ultimate aim.”
The first step towards league football however, is three points tomorrow that would allow Jardine’s men to be crowned champions on their own patch. City’s opportunity for a title party should have come on Wednesday in Innerleithen, but Vale of Leithen’s Victoria Park was rained off. It is now Shelley Kerr’s team that stands between Gair and lifting the Lowland League trophy again – not an obstacle he expects will be brushed aside easily. “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t frustrated,” he said of Wednesday’s postponement. “We thought we could do it on Wednesday but the weather decided otherwise so we go again tomorrow. We’d like to do it on our own pitch, especially after last year; we’d like to do it just playing [a Friday night draw for Whitehill on Groundhog UK weekend meant City became champions during a training session]. Had we won it on Wednesday we would have been presented with it tomorrow; it would have been nice, but we know what we need to do.
“When you have a title on the line I don’t think there’s nay issue in getting the boys up for it, and we tend to get ourselves up for bigger games more often than not. Tomorrow will be a tough one. Stirling have sort of dropped away from the title race with a few disappointing results so they’ll be out with something to prove as well. They gave us a bit of a doing at the start of the season so we’ve got to respond and recover from that.”
With Rangers sealing their SPFL Championship crown after a narrow 1-0 win over Dumbarton this week, Gair admitted he’d take exactly the same at Meadowbank to get the job done. “We’ve had a few of those this season anyway so we’ll take it as it comes. There’s no doubt it’ll be tight so however it comes – if it comes – we’ll be glad to take it.”