Elgin City manager Gavin Price described League 2 champions Kelty Hearts’ success as an ‘extraordinary’ achievement – but takes pride for giving them the toughest head-to-head tests.
The Moray club have failed to fire this season and find themselves ninth, albeit just five points behind sixth-placed Stranraer.
Runaway league winners Kelty only defeated Elgin once in four league meetings, while also losing one of just three matches overall in a 2-0 defeat at Borough Briggs in January.
Much has been said about the financial muscle the Fifers have compared to the rest of the division, but Price feels that shouldn’t detract from Kevin Thomson’s team crossing the line before April arrived.
He said: “We done better against Kelty than any other side in the league, with one win, two draws and a loss.
“Kelty have been worthy winners of the league with five games to go. It’s a great achievement and fair play to them.
“Most leagues will dictate that the clubs with the biggest budgets have the best chance of winning it, but that’s taking nothing away from what has been an extraordinary achievement. It was so convincing.”
Long-awaited win against Edinburgh
Elgin travel to Coatbridge to tackle Albion Rovers on Saturday, just a week on from finally getting the better of Edinburgh City.
Early goals from Josh Peters and Kane Hester set the tone as City ran out 2-0 winners, which was their first victory over the capital club in 15 attempts.
The last time Elgin had defeated Edinburgh was in August 2018, when Shane Sutherland netted the only goal.
Michael Travis was sent off for the visitors after just 20 minutes, but Elgin were already two up and a second red card, which was for Calum Crane, came in the closing moments.
Price was thrilled to see his team set the tone by grabbing control from the start.
He said: “It was a great start to the game. In the first half an hour, we flew out of the traps and earned the victory in that period.
“Starting on the front foot certainly helped and it was a good result for us.
“We have been playing pretty well in the past few games, probably going back to our 3-1 win against Stirling Albion at the end of February.
“We’re playing with a fair bit of confidence. Over the past few weeks, we’ve faced the top four teams in the league and we now need to make sure the level of performances remain like that until the end of the season.
“We’re not where we want to be, but we want to finish as high up the league as we can. We have an opportunity on Saturday to move up a place in the league, so that’s what we’ll be trying to do.”
Seventh spot within reach for Elgin
Elgin will replace Albion Rovers in eighth position if they return with three points this weekend, but they did lose there earlier this season, while they have taken four points against Rovers at home.
Price is urging his men to roll their sleeves up to dig deep for the win.
PICNIC ON THE PARK
We will be hosting a Picnic at Borough Briggs on Sunday the 24th April the day after our final home match 🏟
To register interest contact Craigh who’s number is on the below poster ⚽️
More info to follow soon 🤩 pic.twitter.com/tXhYvJgasZ
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) March 29, 2022
He added: “We want to finish as high up the league as we can. If we finish eighth, great, but we’re aiming to win as many of these last games to try and get to seventh. We want to keep climbing and gather a bit of momentum for next season.
“It will be a really tough game down at Albion Rovers. They really dig in at home, so first and foremost we have to be up for the fight, prepared for the battle and try to establish ourselves in the game and, ultimately, come away with the victory.”
Recruits could be secured in April
And the City boss is working hard in the background to reshape his squad for a fresh promotion push next term.
He said: “We’re always working away, planning for next season. We’ve got quite a lot of the squad already signed up, but we will be looking to do a bit more business over the next few weeks.”
Elgin should be along similar lines squad-wise for this weekend, however, with Darryl McHardy, Jevan Anderson and Euan Spark missing through injury.