Edinburgh City aim for champions party

The all-conquering Edinburgh City squad were in good mood at Meadowbank last night as they took part in a training session. Picture: Jane Barlow
The all-conquering Edinburgh City squad were in good mood at Meadowbank last night as they took part in a training session. Picture: Jane Barlow
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Jordan Caddow is desperate to mark Edinburgh City’s Lowland League title success with a victory tomorrow after his team suffered a weekend of mixed emotions as they were crowned champions.

The Capital side were confirmed as winners last Friday following Whitehill’s 1-0 loss away to East Kilbride and heard the news while training at Ainslie Park – home of city rivals and last season’s champions, Spartans.

That meant Gary Jardine’s team could travel to Dalbeattie Star last Sunday safe in the knowledge their winner’s medals were guaranteed but still determined to protect their season-long unbeaten league record.

As it was, Dalbeattie inflicted City’s first defeat with a 2-1 win, and Caddow revealed any thoughts of title celebrations were far from everyone’s minds after the final whistle.

Tomorrow, though, City will be presented with the league trophy prior to their clash with Gretna 2008 at Meadowbank and defender Caddow is determined to mark the special day with a win.

“After Sunday’s game there was a feeling pure dejection for everyone – it was almost like a feeling of having been relegated!” said Caddow.

“It was unbelievable really. In hindsight, you need to look at the bigger picture – we’ve only lost one game and conceded 12 goals throughout the season but it was a rotten feeling.

“It was one of those games where nothing went for us. The first half started pretty badly before we came into it, whereas we normally start pretty well.

“We just couldn’t score after the equaliser – we had chance after chance after chance, a goal disallowed, shots cleared off the line and I suppose it was just one of those games.

“It was just unfortunate that leading up to it, the thought was that we could win the league by winning the Dalbeattie game and it was just sod’s law that we got beaten on the day that we were to be going out and celebrating.

“It took a while to get over but the bus journey back wasn’t bad and it ended up being a good wee night!

“Finding out on the Friday that we were champions was a weird feeling – especially being down at Ainslie Park.

“The manager (Gary Jardine) had said previously that we wanted to go to Dalbeattie and have that game with that purpose, to get that winning feeling of ‘that’s it over’.

“Whether having already won it was in our minds I don’t know but it was weird. It was more saying congratulations and things like that – there wasn’t that massive excitement of winning a league with everybody buzzing, it was more ‘shake hands, well done boys, brilliant season’.

“There were a few shouts here and there but that was about it before we were away home to prepare for the game on the Sunday.”

This isn’t Caddow’s first title with City. The black and whites won the East of Scotland Premier Division back in 2006 – the player’s first season with the club. He admitted it was a very different experience compared to this time around.

“I’d just signed for City under Tam and Shaun Steven back then. There was a period of games where we went unbeaten in ten then we played Preston. We needed a point to win the league and drew 1-1. That feeling was totally different with the champagne and things like that.

“I think it’s only me and Dougie [Gair] along with Gary Jardine and Ross Mac [McNamara, assistant Manager] who are left now who were involved. A second league winner’s medal with City isn’t too bad!”

Not many observers – Spartans boss Dougie Samuel excepted – tipped City to challenge for the title this year and, although Caddow, pictured left, felt their summer signings had strengthened the squad, he admitted the sense of being potential champions was one that crept up on him gradually.

“When the manager said he was signing Joe Mbu and we played a couple of friendly games and saw the boys we’d brought in like John Dunn, Chris McKee, Ross Allum, having seen some of the youngsters before, I knew we had a strong team. “Nothing was taken for granted, though, because you know you’re coming up against strong teams like Spartans and Whitehill. These guys are always going to be up there, and you’re thinking at the start of the season Stirling Uni will come strong when they get their players back.

“We started strongly and, when you’re playing with a guy who’s played at a high level like big Joe – a man-mountain and a leader – it’s totally different. The spine of our team has been brilliant – Andrew Stobie’s a solid goalkeeper, Joe’s a central figure, Ian McFarland and whoever’s playing around him in midfield have been great and Ross Allum’s been scoring goals.

“After the season’s underway and we’ve been undefeated for a period of time, the confidence was just oozing. Just seeing a zero in the loss column of the table every week gave us that buzz to keep going.”

City will receive their trophy after tomorrow’s game from SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, and Caddow emphasised the contribution of the whole squad to their success.

He said: “Everybody’s played their part. In our dressing-room, even guys who haven’t really played much still feel part of it. Everyone’s going to be up for it and whoever plays a part tomorrow, on the pitch or not, will still enjoy getting their medal and lifting the trophy.”

• CITY will face a play-off with the Highland League Champions, the winner of which will take on the bottom team in League Two for a place in the SPFL.