All-action midfielder Rory MacEwan reckons Elgin City have the pace and know-how to ask Dundee United questions in Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup tie at Tannadice.
Gavin Price’s League Two side pushed Championship visitors Arbroath hard on Saturday before falling to a 1-0 defeat, while United began the night before with a 1-0 win at Kelty Hearts, who have just been promoted to Elgin’s division.
First Tannadice game for MacEwan
MacEwan, 23, who has recovered from Covid, is getting back to full flight and he is looking forward to getting the chance to face Premiership opponents.
He said: “We won’t see as much of the ball as we’d like, but we normally do alright against the better teams. We’ll get a good shape about us and work hard for one another.
Lawrence Shankland finds the breakthrough for @dundeeunitedfc! 🟠⚫
Kelty Hearts haven't made it easy for them, but the visitors are finally in front 👏 pic.twitter.com/cCUlLzqu1J
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 9, 2021
“We’ll try to make it as difficult as we can and try and hit them on the counter. With our pace and energy as a side, there will always be chances.
“I haven’t yet played at Tannadice, so that will be a new one for me to tick off the list hopefully.”
Two early flying challenges from MacEwan matched the pace Elgin set against Arbroath at the weekend and the former Stirling University playmaker insists the crowd play their part in the heat of the battle.
He explained: “As a midfielder, you have got to get stuck in. You hear the encouragement from the terraces and you certainly don’t want to be shirking tackles in front of them. What’s the worst that can happen?”
Striking back after Covid virus
MacEwan was one of a number of Elgin players who suffered from Covid recently and he feels he’s only now getting back to where he should be after the virus taking its toll.
He said: “Personally, I have been struggling in the last couple of weeks as I have come back from Covid. It has not been the ideal start.
“I was one of the ones who maybe struggled the most after Covid. I played 30 minutes against Ross County, but was dead on my feet. I played with the 20s on the Sunday and was still struggling.”
He added: “I was pleased to last 90 minutes on Saturday. I wasn’t getting around as much as I should towards the end, but was happy to be still on the pitch.”
Chances created are positives from Arbroath tie
On Saturday, Elgin could, and should, have been in front against Dick Campbell’s Arbroath, who were denied themselves by several Daniel Hoban saves in his competitive City debut.
MacEwan reflected: “We had the best of the chances over the 90 minutes. We tired a little bit towards the end, but we could have been two or three up with the chances we created.
“When you have Kano (Kane Hester) on the shoulder, running in behind the defence, you are always going to get chances with his pace.
“We pride ourselves on our fitness and we coped really well in that respect against Arbroath. We’re getting up to match speed. We knew this would be a good test, so it was good to match them for a good chunk of the game.”
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— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) July 10, 2021
One big positive for Elgin, as they hunt down promotion from League Two after being knocked out at the play-off stages in May, is having supporters back in the ground.
MacEwan feels they would have provided an additional lift as City hunted the step up at the end of last season, before being pipped by Edinburgh City over two legs.
He added: “It was good before Christmas when we played in front of fans again. Towards the end of last season, we really missed the crowds as we made it into the play-offs.
“Borough Briggs would have been bouncing, but it is good to have fans back in and hopefully we will see the attendances rise as the restrictions get lifted.”