Gavin Price insists his Elgin City side are still firmly in promotion contention – despite their first-leg semi-final loss to Edinburgh City.
Josh Campbell’s goal is all that splits these League Two rivals after Saturday’s opening 90 minutes at Borough Briggs as these sides get set to meet on Tuesday in Edinburgh for the right to face the winner of the Stranraer and Dumbarton tie, which ended goalless.
Elgin have gone 10 games without a win over the capital club and Price’s players certainly gave their all, especially in the first half, and travel south with the belief they can upset the odds.
He said: “Over 180 minutes, there is going to be ups and downs, such as refereeing decisions that don’t go for you, or the break of the ball won’t go for you, but hopefully that turns in our favour in the second leg.
Stats stack up well for Elgin
“We need to be positive to get breaks by players getting into the box more.
“I just looked at the stats at full-time and we were well ahead in terms of 58 per cent possession and 16 shots against nine, so we feel hard done by, losing 1-0 with a freak goal, but we are still in the tie.
“Having lost that goal just before half-time, we could easily have crumbled but we kept at it defensively in the second half defensively but also created a few good opportunities and it didn’t happen for us.
“It’s only half-time and there’s only one goal in it. I have no qualms about playing away from home. There are no crowds yet and we almost have as good a record away as we do at home, so it’s game on.”
Price paid credit to his opponents, but stressed that his group know how to respond to adversity, having coming into the play-offs from the cold as their rivals picked up wins last month.
He added: “Edinburgh are a good side. They are well organised with a good management team who know how to manage games.
“They did that very well and they have good experienced players but we are certainly still in this.
“It’s only half-time and I’d rather the scoreline was the other way about, of course, but we know what we have to do.
Mountains have been scaled already this season
“We were training at Aviemore a few weeks ago when Stranraer had just beaten Queen’s Park and Stirling had beaten Edinburgh and we had a mountain to climb and this is just like a mini-stage of that.
“We have shown all season that we can respond. I have no criticism of the players after Saturday. It has just not gone for us but, if we remain positive, then we believe we can still win this tie.”
Fortune led to the classy Borough Briggs winner
The killer moment came when Darryl McHardy’s clearance bounced off Ouzy See and into match-winner Campbell’s path where he made no mistake.
Price said: “We have to ask why Josh Campbell got in and we didn’t react to that. If you pick the bones out of it, you can look at the goal, but it was a freak goal and you’ve got to accept that.”