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Ross Draper targets safety for Elgin City by notching victory at Stirling Albion

Ross Draper is determined to help Elgin City finish a disappointing season on a high note.
Ross Draper is determined to help Elgin City finish a disappointing season on a high note.

Ross Draper is urging Elgin City to guarantee they will remain a League 2 club  by wrapping up maximum points at Stirling Albion on Saturday.

The on-loan Cove Rangers midfielder-turned-defender is preparing to face the Binos as under-performing City seek to ensure they’re not sucked into a dramatic fight at the foot of the table.

A 2-0 home loss to Stenhousemuir for the ninth-placed Black and Whites last weekend combined with a shock 3-2 victory for rock-bottom Cowdenbeath at second-placed Annan Athletic means Elgin are still not certain of avoiding the relegation play-off. 

They are nine points clear of Cowden with a better goal difference, so it’s unlikely they will drop to 10th as they get set for their fourth showdown with Stirling, who they have beaten twice times this term.

Elgin are currently one point behind Albion Rovers and four points behind their weekend hosts with just three games to go.

Looking to catch Albion and Stirling

And Draper, who was a Scottish Cup-winning star with Inverness in 2015, wants to banish any drop fears by winning at Forthbank.

He said: “With Cowdenbeath winning last weekend, we still need one point to be mathematically safe.

“We couldn’t get it done last Saturday, so we’re going all out to get the result at Stirling this weekend.

Ross Draper, pictured in action for Cove Rangers, will remain with Elgin City for the rest of the season
Ross Draper in action for Cove Rangers.

“If we can get the result, we will try to get two more positive results to finish the season with a bit of momentum.

“We have the chance to catch a couple of teams above us and that is our motivation to try and win the last three games and see where it takes us.”

Not strong enough in either box

Why Elgin find themselves in ninth position with just 270 minutes of football to be played is anyone’s guess.

For Draper, who has 22 Elgin appearances since his loan switch in September, they’ve just lacked the killer and ruthless touches in the key areas all too often.

He added: “It’s a massive frustration to be where we are. It’s hard to put our finger on why the season has gone the way it has.

“We’ve not been good enough in both boxes over the course of the season and that’s what you’re judged on.

“We’ve only got ourselves to blame, but we have to take positives from the fact we’ve had good runs and good performances at times.

“If we can finish the season strongly, we can hope the club can take that into next season. It is all about momentum.”

Bright future lies in store for City

Elgin manager Gavin Price is working hard behind the scenes to shape the squad for next term and Draper feels the foundations are there for a much better campaign in 2022/23, which would be bolstered by a few new faces.

He said: “I know the club have a few players tied down for next season and the club is speaking to others to try and get them under contract as well.

Gavin Price.

“There is a good core of boys at Elgin. They are a good group. I know the bench was short in numbers last weekend, but that was down to a number of injuries.

“I am sure if the manager makes a few more additions, the club will have a really good chance next year.

“We’re not looking towards that right now. We have to make sure we focus on Stirling then our last two games and hopefully it can lead to a positive future for the club.”

Talks on ice as Cove chase title

Draper’s parent club Cove, thanks to a stunning 23-game unbeaten run, are inching closer towards landing the League 1 title, despite rivals Airdrieonians remaining in the hunt.

And Draper explained only when the campaign is over for him and Elgin and his title-hunting Cove team-mates will he sit down to discuss his own situation.

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley is close to taking his club into the Championship.

He said: “Any talks will be at the end of the season.

“Cove are looking to get promoted and hopefully they will get over the line this weekend.

“At the same time, here at Elgin, we need to make sure we’re safe as well.

“As soon as the final ball is kicked this season, I am sure I’ll speak to Cove and see what the plans are.”

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