Lowland League: Luke Murray hopes Edinburgh University have found their mettle
Edinburgh University defender Luke Murray is hopeful the students' stunning comeback on Tuesday night could prove to be the catalyst for their season.
They battled back from the brink of defeat against Vale of Leithen in midweek to sensationally steal maximum points in the dying seconds of the match as Abdul Yusuf netted with virtually the last kick of the game to seal a 4-3 victory.
Full-back Murray, now in his seventh season with the club, said: “After our first-half performance, I felt we merited the three points. That was probably the best football we’ve played so far this season, to be honest.
“Barring a 15-minute lapse in concentration when we let Vale back into the game, I still think we would’ve been disappointed at 3-3 with a point.
“Everything we had been working on in training just fell into place. The boys went out with a point to prove and perhaps to right a few wrongs because we haven’t really hit the heights these past few weeks.
“The desire and hunger we showed to win the game in the last few minutes helped us over the line and it’s important we try to build on that result now.”
The 25-year-old Physical Education teacher has been a mainstay in Dorian Ogunro’s team for several years and has started every match so far this season.
However, Murray knows there are still lots of areas they can improve upon. “Throughout my time with the University, we’ve always been a bit slow to get going. There is a crop of new players and it takes a bit of time for boys to gel and get to know each other.
“I still don’t believe we’ve been anywhere near as good as we can be. I know the potential this group of players have and we’re capable of beating any team in the league on our day, but there are a few things we can do much better.
“We’ve had a decent start and picked up good results against bigger teams like Spartans and East Kilbride, albeit with our backs against the wall for most of those games.
“Ultimately you want to put as many points on the board as soon as possible and we can’t be slow starters every season because the league is only getting stronger, so we’re trying our best to get rid of that philosophy.”
Murray will line up for the Students at Ferguson Park tomorrow when they return to face Whitehill Welfare for the second time in a fortnight.
The Midlothian club dumped Edinburgh Uni out of the William Hill Scottish Cup at the first-round stage that day, and Murray pinpointed a slow start was the key factor behind their downfall.
“I wouldn’t say we’re looking for revenge, but it would be nice to get one over them in the bragging rights again,” he stated.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have in the cup game a few weeks ago, especially early doors, so it will be down to us to go out there and put in a solid performance.”
Murray knows all too well the start of the midweek BUCS University games signal the beginning of a busy fixture schedule for the Students over the coming months but he reckons that will create more competition for places. And he has praised first-team coach Dave McMillan for his part in the squad’s fitness regime programme.
“Those matches will be a good opportunity for a few of the younger players to put themselves in the manager’s thoughts for a starting place in the first-team. The one thing the University teams I’ve been part of over the years have been is incredibly fit, and this is certainly the fittest I’ve felt in my time with the club.
“That is partly down to the work of Dave who is outstanding. As a result, I’m enjoying my football a lot right now, so long may that continue.”
Meanwhile, Civil Service Strollers welcome East Stirlingshire to Christie Gillies Park knowing a victory could see them climb into the top five, while Spartans face a steadily-improving Gala Fairydean Rovers at Netherdale.