Edinburgh University striker and captain Jack Guthrie doesn’t believe being last season’s top scorer is enough to guarantee him a start this term.
The 23-year-old medical student, who is in his sixth and final year of study, has spent the vast majority of the past two months on the sidelines nursing an ankle injury.
However, Guthrie’s game-time has increased in recent weeks and the player even grabbed the headlines last Saturday as his 87th-minute winner saw off Highland League side Lossiemouth in their William Hill Scottish Cup first-round clash at Peffermill.
The students now have another home tie in Highland League outfit Fraserburgh to look forward to next month.
However, as Guthrie edges closer to his first start for the students since their Lowland League opener against Cumbernauld Colts at the end of July when league champions East Kilbride visit the Capital tomorrow, the striker says he will have to show he is worthy of a recall to the starting line-up all over again.
“It’s been frustrating but it’s been good to have been involved from the bench these last few weeks, although the ankle is still not quite there yet,” Guthrie said. “I think it’s probably unlikely I’ll start tomorrow as I’m still not 100 per cent fit, but I’m definitely getting there.
“We’ve done okay while I’ve been out. I’ve been down most weeks to see the guys play but we’ve now got a few of the students back with the new term having started so we’ve got a much stronger squad.
“The freshers trials also went ahead last week so we’ve got two or three who have been added and hopefully they can make a big impact too. We have plenty of options up top.”
Despite Kilby struggling to replicate the kind of performances that saw the South Lanarkshire outfit crowned worthy league champions in May – they lost 5-0 at home to East Stirlingshire last weekend – Guthrie says it’s only a matter of time before Billy Stark’s men rediscover that winning formula.
“They don’t seem to have started quite as well as they did last year, I don’t know if they’ve changed their squad or it’s a bit of a hangover from last season but I’m sure they’re still a great side and it will be a difficult game for us,” he said.
“We beat Stirling Uni in the cup [South Region Challenge Cup] the other week and we have had some other good performances so we’re still confident we can match any side in this league and give them a good game.”
Guthrie revealed he is delighted to be spending his final year at Edinburgh University while continuing his football at Peffermill, the player admitting he did have other options on the table over the summer.
“There were a few other clubs from the Lowland League who showed their interest but that’s all I’ll say,” he said. “I’m happy playing with the Uni as it fits in well with my schedule and I have a good relationship with Dorian [Ogunro] and the boys in the changing-room.
“We haven’t had the best record these last few seasons in the Scottish Cup so it’s always good to get a result like the one we managed last weekend. It was great to come on and make an impact. It’s great we’ve been given another home tie in the next round as I really enjoy the big games at Peffermill.”
Elsewhere this weekend, Civil Service Strollers are in action in the Borders against hosts Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale. Alex Cunningham’s men were also victorious in the Scottish Cup last weekend, coming from behind to see off Strathspey Thistle 2-1 at Christie Gillies Park.
Third-placed Spartans are also on the road tomorrow as they travel to Yarrow Park to play big-spending Selkirk, and Whitehill Welfare entertain Vale of Leithen at Ferguson Park.