Left-back Lyall Booth can see signs of progress at Elgin City – after just two games with Allan Hale’s new-look League Two side.
The 20-year-old January window signing from Huntly, signed on a two-and-a-half year deal, played in Saturday’s 1-0 league loss against Dumbarton and Tuesday’s crunch 2-1 home win against Clyde in the basement battle.
The defender is delighted to be reunited with Hale, who was his boss at Breedon Highland League side Huntly.
Hale replaced Barry Smith in the Elgin hot-seat in December and swiftly turned to Booth to add quality on the left flank, in defence, and going forward.
Defeating Clyde from a goal down – thanks to goals from Russell Dingwall and Dajon Golding – opens up a seven-point gap between these teams.
Three wins from their last five fixtures means they have some breathing space ahead of Saturday’s third successive home fixture – this time against East Fife, who are fifth – four points in front of Elgin, having played one game more.
Russell Dingwall’s 9th min equaliser last night, which was scored within a couple mins of Clyde taking the lead last night, was a sweet strike from just inside the box after some well worked build up play.
Russell has now scored 5 goals this season, and 29 in his time at Elgin pic.twitter.com/J1X7Z1Oaxy
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) January 31, 2024
Booth is ‘growing in confidence’
Booth explained that getting his move to Moray from the Black and Golds at the second time of asking was a real boost going into the new year.
He said: “Playing for the manager at Huntly was a massive factor in me joining, but so was the chance to step up a level.
“It was close to happening in the summer and the move broke down, so I was keen to get it over the line in January.
“I was the manager’s first signing and he was also pretty keen to get the deal done as quickly as possible.
“At the tail-end of the year at Huntly, I was injured with a broken knuckle then I was ill, so I was on the bench for the first two weeks, but since I have come in, I have really enjoyed it.
“I’m growing in confidence the more I play with the team. I am looking forward to every game.”
Quality signings ‘making a difference’
Defender Booth is also reunited with ex-Huntly striker Michael Dangana and on-loan Cove Rangers midfielder Mark Gallagher, who were all team-mates at Aberdeen.
Ex-Ross County winger Ryan McLeman, who enjoyed a loan spell at Elgin, joined permanently, and young Caley Jags midfielder Keith Bray and Cove’s Dayshonne Golding are settling in well on loan, with ex-Aberdeen and Fraserburgh midfielder Lewis Duncan also joining this week.
Booth has been team-mates and opponents with many of the City squad and he says the early signs are positive as they look to put their foot to the pedal this month.
He said: “Some of the players I have played with and some I have played against, so I know the quality of the squad the manager has here.
“I think the fans can already see the player he’s taken in are already making a difference.”
Booth – Win gave us ‘breathing space’
And defender Booth is confident beating Ian McCall’s Bully Wee can be just the start for a team which is looking to maintain their place in the senior fourth-tier come May.
He said: “The league is very tight from fifth place downwards. There are only a few points between some sides, so every game is massive.
“Scoring our equaliser straight after Clyde scored was a massive bonus for us. It gave us the platform to kick on and win it.
“I don’t think, as a team, we have any doubt about what we’re capable of doing. You can see all the signs are there to kick on and do well.
“Tuesday’s win gives us a little bit of breathing space. Had the result gone the other way, it could have been touch and go. It was massive.”
Fans’ backing spurs on City players
Just two games in, Booth is quickly finding his feet in League Two and he’ll be looking for more of the same against East Fife this Saturday.
Twenty of Elgin’s 21 points this term have been gathered in home matches and Booth says the fans more than play their part.
He added: “Our home form compared to away form is something we’re going to look at, but Borough Briggs is proving to be a really hard place for teams to come to.
“It’s a really good crowd here at Borough Briggs – they really get behind you and help you push forward.”
Elgin play their next rescheduled game on Tuesday away to Bonnyrigg Rose before heading to Spartans next Saturday.
New signing Lyall Booth, home top will be sponsored by Mike Thomson
Lyall’s away top and various other players selected tops (subject to availability) are still available to sponsor! Contact the club for more information. pic.twitter.com/FZmBmnHB4D
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) January 5, 2024