East Stirlingshire and Edinburgh City resume battle for a place in League 2 today after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw and City boss Gary Jardine is hoping that having his side’s very own Dave MacKay back in their ranks will help the Lowland League Champions fulfil their dream.
Skipper Joe Mbu’s red card in the first game was overturned on Thursday and the Meadowbank Stadium boss reckons that could be pivotal.
Jardine explained: “I was watching The Damned United film about Brian Clough and Leeds United recently and it struck me that Joe fulfils the same role that Dave Mackay had when Clough was at Derby.”
“Dave was their leader on the park and their young players looked up to him. That is the same with Joe here, so we are delighted that he is available. It would be great if he could lead this side to promotion.”
Jardine added: “We are still dreaming of being a senior side and whilst it is close it is still miles off. We have nothing to lose in terms of our status but we need to ensure that we leave the pitch with no regrets in terms of trying.
“We have players with aspirations to play at a higher level and this is a chance to do that.”
The City boss reckons that there will be a change of tactics by East Stirlingshire. He said: “We were not sure how they would approach the first leg and it turned out that they sat in and gave us the ball. It will be different in this game as they are at home on an artificial surface that they know, so I reckon that they will attack us more.”
Iain MacFarlane is expected back after an injury to give Jardine a full squad to choose from.
Meanwhile, the Shire players are well versed in what staying a senior side means.
The club where Sir Alex Ferguson cut his managerial teeth is in danger of losing their senior status which was initially acquired in 1900 and head coach Craig Tully is determined that it will not happen on his watch.
Tully said: “Everyone knows what this game means to the club as it has been drilled into them for weeks. It is now a winner-takes-all game and we have to do all that we can to make the right result happen.”
The Shire will be more attack -minded than they were in the first leg in the capital last weekend. Said Tully: “We set up solidly for that first game and never really opened up, but we will need to do that at some stage in this one. We may, however, have to be patient as Edinburgh City are a really well-organised and disciplined team who do not give a lot away.”
“We put in an alright performance but not much more than that. We can, however, take positives from it as we worked ourselves back into things after a really disappointing penalty decision against us. We got back level before half-time and were probably the better side after the break.
“We played within ourselves in terms of attacking them but we have to attack in this leg and we will. Hopefully we will do it from the first whistle but we cannot be too gung-ho as they are dangerous, particularly at set pieces.”
Tully added: “We do not want to lose our place in the SPFL.”
Reece Donaldson is available after his red card from last weekend was rescinded on appeal with only the injured Michael Wallace out for the Shire.