Nico Gibson gives City derby victory against Spartans

Nico Gibson celebrates scoring for City against Spartans. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Nico Gibson celebrates scoring for City against Spartans. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Nico Gibson was delighted to bag a brace as Edinburgh City ran out 3-0 winners in their Image Printer’s Cup third round tie against Spartans at Ainslie Park.

Early strikes from Gibson and Ross Guthrie gave City a half-time advantage, before Gibson’s second-half screamer sealed an impressive away win.

Gibson admitted there was a stroke of fortune about his first after an error from Spartans keeper Kevin Swain. “The first was pretty simple really,” he admitted. “I just closed down the keeper, working hard and it paid off. The second one was a goal I’ve been scoring in training and I’ve been wanting to do it in a game so I’m glad it worked out!”

It took just 15 minutes for Spartans to be brought crashing back to reality after the weekend high of the Scottish Cup. City took the lead in comical fashion on 14 minutes. Spartans keeper Kevin Swain completely missed his clearance after taking an unintentional extra touch from a pass back, gifting Gibson the easiest goal he’ll ever score.

It was 2-0 just more than a minute later. Ross Guthrie beat Swain to the ball when the keeper looked favourite to gather and the No.11 slipped the ball under him and into the net.

Spartans seemed understandably rattled and Jack Beacher’s wayward volley after turning Harrison represented their only real attempt with 27 minutes played. The home side forced a series of set pieces but didn’t really pose a danger against City’s aerial strength at the back. Fit-again John Grant hit the target, but his dipping volley was easily held.

Gibson spurned the chance to make it 3-0 five minutes after the restart. The front man ghosted past Eddie Malone on the bye-line but sent a weak side-footed effort into Swain’s hand with several team-mates screaming for a cut back. Willie Bremner then had a similar opportunity at the other end for the hosts but his more powerful effort was held by goalkeeper Andrew Stobie at his near post.

A neat one-two between Jack Beesley ad Errol Douglas gave the Spartans winger a sight of goal, but Beesley’s first-time effort flew well wide. City’s striker’s then combined in similar fashion, Guthrie back-heeling to Gibson whose left-foot effort lacked power to worry Swain.

Gary Jardine’s side then put the game beyond their opponents with a stunning third on 68 minutes. Sub Ross Allum fed Gibson on the right, who shifted the ball onto his left foot before sending a dipping strike over Swain into the far corner.

Jardine felt Spartans’ cup exertions made it a more comfortable night than expected. “I was surprised at how comfortable it was,” he admitted. “It was their third game in six days and I think it told after their cup tie. It wasn’t a great game but it was still important that we pressed and squeezed the game. Hard work from the forwards got us the first two goals and then it was about keeping the ball.”

Dougie Samuel agreed his team were lacklustre but praised City for their play. “I think we beat ourselves in the first half and a hangover from Saturday was probably to expected, but that’s a bit unfair on Edinburgh City, who maybe don’t get enough credit for the quality of their play.

“It’s easy to say they’re fit and work hard but they are also capable in possession. Their third goal was fantastic, but we really put ourselves 2-0 down.”

Spartans: Swain, MacKinnon, Beacher (McLeod 58), Malone; Bruce, Stevenson (Motion 75), Beesley, Grant, (Henretty 69) Douglas, Bremner, Brown.

Edinburgh City: Stobie, Caddow, Gibson, Harrison, Paterson, Mbu, McFarland (Vanson 78), Gair, Deniran (Allum 61), Dunn, Guthrie.