EDINBURGH CITY’S all-time leading Scottish Cup, scorer Dougie Gair, will be on a mission to add to his 12 goals in the competition when his side face SFL Third Division team Montrose at Links Park (kick-off 3pm) in the second round tomorrow.
The two clubs met three seasons ago at Meadowbank when Montrose advanced to meet Hibs with a 3-1 win, although City made their opponents work very hard before a late goal sealed their fate. “I remember that after Montrose took the lead I equalised before half-time with a left-foot shot,” said Gair. “We kept things tight until the final ten minutes when we just lacked a bit of concentration to gift them a couple of goals.
“While we are not quite going out for revenge tomorrow, it would be nice to get one over on them and go through to the next round. I honestly do not believe that there is much difference between the top teams in the East of Scotland League and clubs in the SFL Second and Third Divisions. Several players who previously played in the East of Scotland League are now playing for teams, including Forfar, Stirling Albion, East Stirling, East Fife, Annan and Peterhead, so there is not a massive jump, if any at all.
“One of our former team-mates, Danny Denholm, is playing really well at Forfar.”
Montrose are currently second bottom in the Third Division with five points from their six games, four of these points having been picked up on their artificial home surface. According to Gair, he and his colleagues have no problem with playing on a synthetic surface and maybe even play better football, citing a couple of recent instances. “In the past few months we have played some of our best football on the 4G surface at Spartans Academy,” stressed Gair.
“We won a cup final against Whitehill Welfare and beat Spartans so the Montrose surface could help us. We are going to Montrose with a definite chance of progressing and we are certainly not going just to make up the numbers. We have been training at a high tempo and our manager [Gary Jardine] has worked on our shape and a few other aspects. I’d like to score at least my 13th Scottish Cup goal, but first and foremost a winning result for Edinburgh City is what we are looking for and an opportunity to play in the next round.”
The Gable Endies, as Montrose are nicknamed, have been watched by City boss Jardine, who, as always, has done his homework. In the last round, City beat the Scottish Junior Cup holders Shotts Bon Accord 4-1 and Jardine felt that his spying missions had paid dividends. “I have now watched Montrose on their artificial surface which is similar to what Spartans Juniors play on and what we have been training on at Meggetland and Peffermill,” said Jardine.
“Recent games for us at Spartans have been enjoyable, so our players like playing on synthetic surfaces and we have no fears regarding that aspect.”
City warmed up for tomorrow’s trip with a 5-0 win against Burntisland Shipyard last weekend, and Jardine said: “It was pleasing to score five goals, but we had a long chat during the week about how we will have to improve tomorrow.
“However, this week there has been a buzz about training and every single player is wanting to prove their fitness. They have all been showing that extra 5 or 10 per cent which was similar prior to our game with Shotts.
“Tomorrow we have to impose ourselves on the game while also being mindful of Montrose’s qualities. My players can use the tag of being underdogs to make a real name for themselves. Some of our players could, and maybe should, be playing in the SFL. This game is their chance to prove how good they really are.”
City will have striker Robbie Ross and defender Scott Fusco both available after missing out last weekend.