Elgin City manager Gavin Price is leaving no stone unturned this week after admitting his side looked under prepared for last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie against Civil Service Strollers.
Despite City running out 4-0 winners against their Lowland League opponents, to book a second round tie at home to Championship side Ayr United, Price was highly critical of his side’s first half performance in the Boxing Day encounter.
Having only trained on Tuesday during the run up to Christmas, Price has reverted back to two sessions ahead of this weekend’s League Two trip to Brechin City, with the City boss hopeful lessons have been learned.
Price said: “We are certainly wanting to learn from the first half, that’s the biggest thing I will take out of the game.
“I’m pleased with the reaction from a very deserved roasting they got at half-time, but we can’t afford to start like we did on Saturday. We will make sure at training this week that is not going to happen.
“We maybe made the mistake of only training once last week, with Christmas Eve being on the Thursday.
“I’ll take the blame for that in terms of the first half performance. We obviously got going and did well in the second half, but if there’s one thing it highlighted to me it’s that we need to prepare better for this week.
“We looked like a team that hadn’t prepared if I’m being honest.
“We will make sure we are 100% at it for Saturday – we trained during the day on Tuesday and we will do the same on Thursday.
“For me, sometimes you learn more from these sorts of things. I’m not saying anyone has been misbehaving over Christmas, it was the fact we hadn’t trained close to the game and it affected us.
“We are making sure that’s right. The weather is not great, but we have got to do it as a team and stick together.
“This is coming into a really crucial part of the season where we need to make sure we are at the top of our game for every fixture.”
Saturday’s opponents Brechin are bottom of League Two with only four points, however Price says his side’s recent 3-1 loss to Albion Rovers should serve as an added warning for his promotion-chasing side.
He added: “It’s another thing we have to warn ourselves against this weekend. We went down to Albion Rovers a few weeks ago, a team that only had three points on the board, and lost.
“I’m not saying it’s the attitude of the players, but we’ve got to treat every game with that 100% as though it’s a top of the table clash or whatever.
“The game should mean more to us than it should to Brechin. That’s the message we’ve got to get across.
“Brechin are bottom of the league and fighting for points, but we are fighting for points for other reasons.”
Price will be without defender Andy McDonald, with the Borough Briggs manager laying down the challenge to Darryl McHardy, who deputised against Strollers last weekend in advance of McDonald’s suspension.
Price added: “We had to look forward a bit with the game in mind.
“We didn’t want to take Andy out of the team, he has been one of our best players.
“It was important we looked ahead to the Brechin game.
“Darryl really needed the 90 minutes and he really needs to train well.
“Whether we play him or not we are still to decide, but he certainly needs to work on his all-round fitness to make sure he can push for a place in the team and be ready when we need him.”