Conor O’Keefe is putting in the miles and yards as Elgin City aim to go the distance in their bid to reach League One via the promotion play-offs.
The former St Mirren starlet, who works as a technician at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, is gearing up to give his all for the Black and Whites tonight against League Two champions Queen’s Park at Borough Briggs.
Stirling, Elgin and Stranraer are in the fight for the two remaining play-off berths, with Edinburgh City already certain of their top-four finish after beating the Moray side 2-0 on Saturday.
Stirling are third, one point and one place ahead of Elgin, who only lead Stranraer by virtue of their goals-for column. The Binos have completed their 22-game campaign and will watch on with fingers crossed.
Stranraer host Edinburgh, also at 7pm tonight, and they need to better Elgin’s result against the Spiders to pip them to the play-offs, which start on Saturday.
O’Keefe, who says contract talks over a potential new deal are ongoing, has scored four times this term, but has been stepping off the bench rather than starting in recent weeks.
‘Not getting home until 2am’
The four-games-per-week demands, however, makes that aspect understandable according to the frontman.
He said: “Personally, it’s been a pretty good season. I have added a few goals to my game and had a few assists.
“I’ve been in and out the team this year, but that was bound to happen because of the tough schedule.
“To have a full-time job as well, you are trying to get holiday days from work and sometimes not getting home until 2am before work the next day, before a game the next day again.
“It has been really hard and it takes it out of you.”
The 22-year-old insists that the players are ready to give their all against the division’s top team, who they recently matched over 90 minutes on the night Queen’s were confirmed as the champions.
He explained: “We drew 0-0 down there with Queen’s Park and Stranraer beat them, so that’s an indication that you can get results against them.
“Their season is done and they have nothing to play for any more, whereas we have everything to play for. Hopefully we will have that competitive edge over them. We are aiming for the win.
‘If we win, we’re in the play-offs’
“The Stranraer v Edinburgh game at the same time will have a big bearing on where we finish, but we need to just focus on winning our game and not let anything else distract us. If we win, we’re in the play-offs.”
Elgin have been largely on the up since play resumed earlier this year, but three defeats and the fine draw against Queen’s Park halted their winning momentum over a week-and-half last month.
We only had a poor 10 days that put us in a bad position, but we have come back well to get into the top four.”
O’Keefe reckons that mini-slide should not detract from how well they have played under manager Gavin Price to give themselves a live chance at home tonight.
He stressed: “All year, we have been really motivated. We only had a poor 10 days that put us in a bad position, but we have come back well to get into the top four.
“It was an unfortunate result on Saturday against Edinburgh and hopefully we can continue the form we showed before the weekend and get a big result.”