Elgin City assistant boss Steven Mackay reckons the Moray club are in ideal shape to try to score a long-awaited win over League Two rivals Edinburgh City.
Not only would victory on Friday be their first over the capital club in 14 attempts, it would slice the advantage between the sides to just two points and give their top-four chances a further shot in the arm.
The last time the Black and Whites defeated fourth-placed Edinburgh, Shane Sutherland scored the only goal in August 2018.
That said, in their most recent meeting – at Borough Briggs in November – they were close to beating their opponents in an eventual 1-1 draw.
Mackay believes the players can take heart from pushing their capital opponents close last time out.
He said: “It has been a long time since Elgin beat Edinburgh. It would be nice to end that run.
“We were unlucky in our last game against Edinburgh when Jaime Wilson equalised and we should have gone on to get three points.
“We’re playing well and certainly defending well, so hopefully we can go that one step further on Friday and get the win.”
Fourth place prize is realistic goal
Mackay was thrilled to see the players deliver a big result against Forfar on Sunday, which hauls Elgin right into the promotion play-off hunt.
He said: “It was a great result, especially on the back of a great win away to Stirling. It was great to get consecutive wins, which is something we’d not been able to do this season.
“We’ve also had two back-to-back clean sheets as well, which was another positive for us.
“I’ve always said if you can get a bit of a run going in this league, you really can start climbing the table.
“While we haven’t moved up a position, it has put us closer to many clubs, including Edinburgh City.
“I think Kelty-Forfar-Annan will be the first, second and third place finishers. They’re not confirmed and anything can happen in football, but I’d say it’s fourth position which is the one that any team from Edinburgh to ourselves will be looking at if we can get together between now and the end of the season.”
McHardy’s goal sparked celebrations
For the second home game running, defender Darryl McHardy popped up against Forfar with a last-gasp goal.
The home grown ace previously scored to salvage the 2-2 draw against Stenhousemuir on December 18.
Mackay reckons the united celebrations by the Elgin players spoke volumes when the winner hit the net.
He added: “The players believed and persevered and that’s really important.
“It can be difficult when we’ve had games which have not gone our way. We have created a lot of chances and not stuck them away.
“It was important we continued to believe. We created chances right until the end and Darryl has taken those chances late on in our last two home games. It was great to get that goal.
“It was also great to see the togetherness and cameraderie – everyone in the team jumped on top of Darryl then everyone on the bench got involved.
“You always look at whether teams celebrate in threes or fours or do they all celebrate together. Scoring in the last minute helps, of course.”
Double-digit gap over Cowdenbeath
An added boost for Elgin winning again is they have created a 10-point gap over Cowdenbeath at the bottom.
Mackay admits it got tight earlier in the campaign and he hopes the club are only looking upwards from now on.
He added: “It got down to four points at one stage and that was too close for comfort.
“We have responded with a couple of wins. Anything can happen in football and we won’t take anything for granted.
“With (Cowden manager) Maurice Ross in there, I am sure we’ll see Cowdenbeath pick up results.
“However, we now want to look at the teams just ahead of us and try to get as many wins to see where that leaves us. Our ambition is to get enough wins and performances to secure fourth position.”
Striker Lawrence agrees pro contract
City this week, meanwhile, confirmed young striker Dylan Lawrence has signed his first pro contract, keeping him at the club until next year.
The 18-year-old has joined Highland League side Strathspey Thistle in a bid to score more game time.
Fellow forward Jaime Wilson, 24, has returned to League One side Falkirk after scoring just the one goal while on loan at Elgin City.
We are delighted to announce 18 year old striker Dylan Lawrence has signed his first pro contract ✍️
The forward is contracted to the Club until 2023.
The youngster will now join Strathspey Thistle on a Season long loan to gain some more game time.
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) January 4, 2022
Elgin’s home match against leaders Kelty Hearts, which was postponed on December 7, has been set for Tuesday, January 24, with a 7.45pm kick-off.