Exciting times are ahead for Edinburgh City whose recently appointed manager, Gary Naysmith, has hit the ground running. Now only the play-offs will determine in what division the Citizens will play next season.
High-flying Queen’s Park were always the favourite to gain automatic promotion, but City have spent the season competing with Stirling Albion and Elgin City for second place. Now they have a squad more than capable of playing at a higher level, although it won’t be at Ainslie Park.
It’s not just what’s happening on the field that has led to the good feeling around the club, as last month City announced that they will be returning to their traditional home of Meadowbank Stadium for the start of season 2021/22.
Gone is the old, brutalist grandstand and terracing, the nostalgic scoreboard that came all the way from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and the imposing old-school floodlight towers. In their place are modern, world-class facilities including a state-of-the-art sports centre with a 500 seat stand in its shadow, alongside a brand new 4G pitch.
Following extensive consultation with both The City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Leisure to ensure that the facilities comply with all aspects of SFA Club Licensing, an agreement has been reached in principle that would allow the club to build a second stand on the North side of the pitch, subject to obtaining planning permission.
The proposed structure will have both seated and safe standing sections, and will be able to accommodate up to 1500 supporters.
Naysmith took over from James McDonaugh (who has taken the role of Sporting Director), and led the club to six wins and a draw in his first seven League Two matches.
The 42-year-old started his professional playing career with Hearts, where he lifted the 1998 Scottish Cup before signing for English Premier League giants Everton for £1.7m in 2000.
His move south led to more than 130 Premier League appearances, to add to his 46 Scotland international caps.
Despite several serious injuries during his time at Goodison Park, Gary made a £1 million move to Sheffield United in 2007, becoming their regular full back in the English Championship, before latterly agreeing moves to Huddersfield Town and Aberdeen.
In the twilight of his playing career he joined East Fife, which developed into a player-manager role and he went on to lead the Methil men to the League 2 title in 2016.
Following this success, he took over at Championship side Queen of the South later that year, a position he held until May 2019.
Prior to joining City, he enjoyed the role of Loan Manager at Hearts where he has overseen the development of the young players.