Elgin City captain Euan Spark is determined to deliver a League Two title next year which would also slice out the tension of knife-edge play-offs.
Speaking just moments after Tuesday’s pulsating 2-2 draw away to rivals Edinburgh City, which saw them lose 3-2 on aggregate, the classy defender was gutted to miss out by a whisker on making the play-off final against Dumbarton next week.
After two Darryl McHardy goals had the visitors 2-1 up, the last-gasp Josh Campbell strike stretched The Citizens’ unbeaten run over Elgin to 11 fixtures, but more importantly ended the Black and Whites’ bid to clinch promotion.
Full Time ⚽@EdinburghCityFC 2-2 Elgin City (Agg 3-2)
City are out of the play-offs after a late Josh Campbell goal puts the hosts through.
We wish Edinburgh well for the final and thank all our fans for their support throughout the season.
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) May 11, 2021
It is the second time in recent years that Elgin have bowed out at this stage and Spark, who was proud of the team’s front-foot performance, is eager they win promotion as the supreme winners 12 months from now.
Starting from zero next season
He stressed: “We will look forward to next season. It won’t be easy at all because every side is back to zero points. We’ll take the rest now. It will take a good couple of weeks to get over this result.
“Just because we reached the play-offs, that won’t matter as we all start from scratch and go again. Our goal is to win the league. You never know how other clubs will recruit but we will just look after ourselves.
“We came close but we didn’t reach the play-off final. We’ve only reached the semis, so we want to avoid this and win the league and go up automatically. That was the goal this season and it has to be our target again next year.
Hoping bogey side Edinburgh City gain promotion
“The gaffer and the club have committed to players for next season. Queen’s Park have gone up as champions.
“We’re hoping Edinburgh will move out of this league too because they’ve been our bogey team.”
As the play-off approached, results elsewhere went against Elgin, but three wins from four, including a 3-2 thriller against champions Queen’s Park, earned them a shot of glory.
Spark said: “The efforts of the group has been phenomenal. For example, Stephen Bronksy is with the police and he’ll do a nightshift then he’s here for our games. Boys are taking half and full days off work.
“When we played four games in a week we’d travelled over 1,000 miles to play, yet we still gave it everything.”
Despite losing three times to Edinburgh in the regular season, Elgin finished level on points with the runners-up and that’s what made Tuesday’s crushing result more painful for the skipper.
Evenly matched rivals
He explained: “No disrespect to Edinburgh, but we are so evenly matched, both over these two games and in the league table.
“It was harsh to lose 1-0 on Saturday then to lose it overall in the last minute was soul destroying. All the best to Edinburgh.
“They are a good team and I hope they do well, but it really could have been either-or. We could easily have reached the final.”
He added: “We are all bitterly disappointed. Football can be the hardest game when it ends like that. You can’t fault the boys for anything.
“At 2-1, we created chance after chance and I thought we were going to get a third goal, but that’s football for you. We tried to play and that’s the risk you take.
“Through no fault of our own, we got caught out and they scored. After the long season that we’ve had and all the sacrifices the boys have put it, for it to end in this manner is not nice.”