The Ferrari Packaging Lowland League table has a familiar look about it with Edinburgh City back on top after a brief demotion to second, but manager Gary Jardine refuses to accept that as the natural order of things, despite last season’s success.
Wednesday night’s 4-2 home win over Selkirk, coupled with East Kilbride’s 2-2 draw with Stirling University allowed the champions to regain top spot. It was also City’s first league win since mid-August following what were, going by the last year or so, uncharacteristic back-to-back defeats, themselves also dropping points at Stirling as well as losing to Whitehill Welfare.
Despite having the Lowland League trophy in the cabinet for a year and the prefix ‘champions’ regularly applied to the Meadowbank club, Jardine is keen to eschew all the trappings that winning the league brings as they look to repeat the trick this term.
“Last season is long gone,” he asserted. “We don’t see ourselves as champions anymore. There’s a league title now to play for and its going to change hands all the time – Spartans are coming stronger and getting the points on the board. It’s a reward for the players to be top of the league but as a manager I’m not too fussed about that. It’s about being round about there come March and then we’ll see what happens.”
More results like Wednesday’s will ensure City are where they want to be by then. It was also a demonstration of he squad’s character in responding to successive defeats – not something they had to endure last season. “It was something we had a good chat about at training,” Jardine revealed. “About the things we’ve done differently and we moved away from what made us a strong side last year. We tried to put it right on Wednesday and for most of the game we did that. We got forward, created chances and worked ever so hard so I was a pleased manager this week.”
Similar will be required for tomorrow’s trip to Lochburn Park. BSC Glasgow proved stubborn opposition last term for City, including a 5-0 South Challenge Cup semi-final defeat. Jardine is expecting a stern test again in Maryhill.
“That was a kind of a freak result,” he said. “We went down to ten men early and they played ever so well. The other two games through there were nil-nil and one-nil which basically clinched the league for us.
“Every game in this league is really, really difficult. If you take your foot off the gas then you’re going to lose. We know BSC’s qualities and we had really difficult games through there last year and Saturday will be no different, it’ll be very close. If we can take what we did on Wednesday, add one or two bits to it and build momentum then that’d be great.”
One addition could come in the shape of striker Ouzy See, who came off the bench against his former club on Wednesday as a trialist. Jardine is keen to add See to his squad, but admitted it may not be straightforward. “There’s a couple of sticking points. He’s the type of player we want to bring to the club. He’s smart, he’s quick and he’d bring a lot to the team but right now it’s kind of out of our hands.”