Elgin City assistant boss Steven Mackay can’t wait to finally get some training time with League Two hot-shot Kane Hester.
The striker has just returned from a hamstring injury, which kept him sidelined since mid-September.
He stepped off the bench and was a whisker away from scoring in Elgin’s vital 1-0 victory over Cowdenbeath in a ninth against tenth pressure game at Borough Briggs.
Archie Macphee netted the only goal in a match where the hosts had chances aplenty and 26-year-old Hester, who has scored 19 goals in each of the last two seasons, will be keen to add to his tally of seven so far.
Full time here at BB as city take all 3 points thanks to a early first half goal by Archie Macphee⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/XUBH7S3mmV
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) November 13, 2021
Hester’s pace troubles centre halves
He will be gradually given more game time week by week as he gets back into shape after his lay-off and Mackay, a notable striker at senior and Highland League level, is looking forward to working with the goal-grabber.
Former Ross County forward Mackay, who became boss Gavin Price’s assistant earlier this season, said: “It was a massive boost having Kane back in the squad.
“He came on in the second half and probably could have scored a hat-trick. Kane, firing on all cylinders, would have done so. He was disappointed that he didn’t score even one.
“But his movement was exceptional and his pace causes problems. It was great to get him on the park and he will find his fitness in the coming weeks. He is a massive player for us.
“Kane is exceptional. Yes, we’ve both been strikers, but he possesses something I never really had and that’s pace. When I joined Elgin, I was excited to get the chance to work with Kane.
“I’ve not had much of an opportunity as it wasn’t long after I joined he picked up his injury. I am looking forward to getting some training sessions with him and we’ll be delighted to have him back fully fit.
“His pace alone takes him behind centre halves and he finds space. Let’s hope that is his injuries over for the season and he can focus on getting back regularly and scoring goals for us.”
Positive performances amid defeats
Mackay explained Price and the group picked the bones out of a defeat to drive them on ahead of their vital victory over Cowden last weekend.
Elgin were on a six-game winless run, with the Scottish Cup replay defeat to West of Scotland Premier League side Clydebank followed by a 2-1 loss against Forfar Athletic far from their ideal preparation for a bottom two tussle.
However, the way they tested one of League Two’s best teams, Forfar, on their own patch encouraged the players ahead of the Blue Brazil clash.
Mackay added: “It’s never easy after losing a game to dwell on how well you’ve played, but it was important after the Forfar game to recognise it.
“Gavin and I felt we were doing the right things and the team created a lot of chances against Forfar and, on another day, could have easily got a draw or even a win. It was important we built on that against Cowdenbeath.
“I still feel we have a challenge ahead of us. We need to be more ruthless and convert more chances. We had 26 attempts at goal on Saturday and 11 or 12 were on target. There will be other games where we need to be more clinical.
“We know what this league is like. You might only get two or three chances, so you have to take them.
“It was important, first and foremost, we got the three points, but performance-wise we were pleased with our shape and with the amount of chances we created. We just need to focus on converting more.
“In this league, if you go on a run of losses or draws then you can find yourselves down the bottom of the table. That’s what’s happened to us.
“It’s not like we’d been playing poorly. We were not great against Clydebank at home, yet still created lots of chances.”
Stenny run can inspire Elgin City
Had Cowdenbeath left Moray with the win on Saturday, Elgin would have dropped level bottom of the table and Mackay admits it’s not a position the club should ever be close to.
He said: “Saturday was a big game for us and it was important we got the result. A club like Elgin, with the squad that we’ve got, should not be at the lower end of the table. Far from it.
“The guys showed that on Saturday and is now about getting consistency, repeating those types of performances and hopefully we can put a run together.
“We have seen what can happen when you look at Stenhousemuir. Since we beat them on September 25, when we were probably quite lucky to beat them, they have gone on a great run, winning five games and find themselves in fifth place. It can be done. If you can put a run together, you can quickly climb the league.”
Chance to leapfrog Stranraer
And Elgin can rise above their hosts Stranraer into eighth place should they win at Stair Park on Saturday.
Mackay believes the team’s displays away from home give them every reason to head south with belief.
He added: “We can leapfrog Stranraer if we win and that will be our focus. We know it will be another tough one. They are particularly strong at home and it’s a long journey for us.
“We have been playing relatively well away from home. We won at Stenhousemuir, drew at Kelty Hearts and played really well at Forfar, so we travel with confidence.
“If we can take the confidence from the performance against Forfar and from the victory on Saturday and then be a bit more clinical then we can hopefully come back with all three points.”