Defender Creag Little insists Elgin City’s recent “wake-up call” defeat in Edinburgh will help them be switched on for Saturday’s League Two clash away to leaders Kelty Hearts.
Elgin return to action two weeks after a disappointing 2-0 loss at Edinburgh City, a match where both goals came in the opening seven minutes, the first within 20 seconds.
It means the Black and Whites have just five points from their opening five fixtures and already trail fourth-placed Stirling Albion by four points.
Defeat to Lowland League winners Kelty would mean they would be a whopping 11 points off top spot before mid-September.
They have gone from sparkling in victories against Albion Rovers and Hibs under-20s to struggling in defeats such as those against Cowdenbeath and Edinburgh.
SPFL TRUST TROPHY
We host Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC in the next round of the Trust Trophy on Saturday 9th October with an earlier 2pm KO🏆
This will be an all ticket match. More information on how to get your tickets will be released next week.
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) September 7, 2021
Little, who scored the opener in a 3-1 home defeat in the Premier Sports Cup against Kelty in July, reckons the fact City have shown in flashes what they are capable of heightens the belief they can upset the flying Fifers.
He said: “I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t go there and get a result, even at least a draw.
“We don’t fear anyone in this league. We know Kelty are a good side and we respect that, but we are also a good side, so there’s no reason why we can’t be confident going there.”
Another slow start not an option
Boss Gavin Price has voiced his concern at the slow starts his team have made in several games this season, but Little is confident the group will be ready for action from the first whistle at Central Park.
The 28-year-old said: “Kelty are a strong side, so if we’re not switched on from the start we will be punished. I’m sure all the boys will be fully focused.
“The Edinburgh match was a sore one for everybody. It was maybe a wake-up call for us.
“We have spoken about how we’re not getting consistent performances. We’ll maybe played well in one match then not so well in the next before we’re back to doing well again.
“We just need to find that consistency and start games better than we have been. It’s been a reasonable start to the season, but could be better.”
Call-off led to cup ‘win’ for Elgin
Last weekend, Elgin’s SPFL Trust Trophy visitors, Championship toilers Dunfermline Athletic, were forced to cancel their trip north due to low numbers linked to Covid, injury and international duties.
That led to a 3-0 win for Elgin, who host Championship pace-setters Caley Thistle on October 9 after their 4-0 victory against Highland League Buckie Thistle.
City reached the second round after seeing off Hibs Colts 2-1 in Edinburgh and now have that all-north showdown tucked away for next month.
Little added: “It would have been a tough game against Dunfermline, but it did work in our favour by us getting the result and going through to the next round.
“It’s of course not great for Dunfermline, with boys testing positive for Covid. It’s not a good situation.
“Covid cancellations will affect most clubs. There’s nearly at least one game off every week and I think that’s the way it’s going to be for this season at least.”
Elgin had their Covid outbreak over the summer too, which led to a 10-day catch-up period after the squad and management had to isolate.
Competition for places heats up
Little, who joined the Moray club in July, having played most recently with Queen’s Park then Stenhousemuir, was a top target of Price. He’s played in all 10 Premier Sports Cup and league matches to date.
He adds solidity at the back alongside the likes of skipper Euan Spark, Darryl McHardy, Archie Macphee and on-loan Dundee United full-back Nathan Cooney.
Competition at the back has been cranked up further by the arrival of 22-year-old Ross County defender Tom Grivosti on loan until January as he seeks game time to kick on after close to two years out with injuries.
Little is delighted to have a Premiership player on board for the next four months and said such health competition is what every side requires to progress.
He said: “Tom is a good player and we welcome his addition. I am sure he’ll come in and do well.
“Every team needs strong competition because that’s how you get the best out of people. If you know you’re playing every week, you can become complacent, whereas when there are good boys on the bench ready to take their chance, it keeps you on your toes.”
After taking on Kelty in the league this weekend, Elgin are home to Annan Athletic a week on Saturday before heading to Little’s last club Stenhousemuir on September 25.