Edinburgh City want to win the Lowland League title at home.
Robbie Neilson this week indicated his preference for Hearts to win the Championship title having played a game themselves rather than benefiting from a result elsewhere, and Edinburgh City captain Dougie Gair wants the exact same for his own club.
Wednesday’s 1-0 win at BSC Glasgow means the runaway Lowland League leaders can clinch the title with a win at Dalbeattie Star on Sunday, provided Whitehill Welfare win at East Kilbride tonight.
Staggered kick-offs across the Lowland League card this weekend due to hosting the GroundHop UK event means City can win the league while training at Meadowbank tonight – something Gair would like to avoid if possible. “Obviously we’ll take it any way it comes, but I think we’d like to do it playing,” he said. “That would be better than just sitting around, looking at Twitter and things for the updates from the Whitehill game.”
While Gair’s focus is on City getting over the line, the Hearts fan wouldn’t mind cause for a double celebration on Sunday should a capital title double transpire. “It’s looking like it could pan out that way so Sunday could be a big day for all parties – it could go on into the early hours I think!”
Should City be confirmed as champions, it would mean a great deal to Gair, who has spent the best part of a decade in black and white. “It would be massive, especially in this scenario in the Lowland League with the play-offs. I won the league when it was the East of Scotland years and years ago, but I think this would mean a lot more. Certainly being captain of the team is a massive thing as well.”
Despite being within touching distance, Gary Jardine’s men aren’t opening the champagne just yet. If Whitehill leave K Park with three points tonight, Gair knows City will have to earn a win at Islecroft on Sunday. “Dalbeattie aren’t just going to let us win it if we can so we’re going to have to be prepared. Gary’s got us in tonight so we’ll be training whilst keeping track of the Whitehill score. We’re getting picked up on Sunday morning at about half seven, eight o’clock so the boys are going to have to look after themselves so that we can handle the early kick-off. It’ll be a bigger crowd so a bit more pressure but we’ve been handling pressure well all season.”
Gair admitted City have enjoyed some luck in recent weeks, and while his team certainly deserve to be champions when it comes, it wasn’t just those outside the club who have been surprised at just how far ahead of the rest they have been. “We’ve had a bit of luck the last few games – Joe [Mbu’s] scored a wind-assisted free kick against East Kilbride from about 60 yards, the Edinburgh Uni goalie’s dropped one in for us on Saturday and it’s an own goal on Wednesday against BSC with them missing a pen. Things are running for us but that’s down to us as well – we’re putting the pressure on.
“At the start of the season we fancied our chances but I don’t think anyone, being honest, envisaged us not losing a game. We’ve never been in this position before which is another strange thing. That’s testament to the guys that we’ve done that but I thought it’d be a lot tougher than it’s turned out to be.”