Third time lucky as Gala Fairydean Rovers beat League Two’s Edinburgh City in pre-season friendly
It was third time lucky for Gala Fairydean Rovers on Saturday as they got the better of League Two’s Edinburgh City in a pre-season friendly.
The Galashiels side notched up their first victory of their pre-season preparations at their Netherdale home ground thanks to goals from attacking midfielder Martin Scott, centre-forward Zander Murray and fellow forward Daryl Healy.
New signing Scott, alias Jimmy, put the hosts ahead and Murray then doubled that lead to put them 2-0 up at half-time.
Lee Hamilton got one back for the visitors in the second half, but Healy, another of the Borderers’ summer signings, went on to head home a third and seal victory for them, cheered on by a crowd for the first time in well over a year due to coronavirus restrictions.
That was Rovers’ first win against the fourth-tier capital side in three meetings, having lost two previous friendlies, both at Netherdale too, 3-0 in 2019 and 4-1 the year before.
Saturday’s 3-1 victory followed a 2-2 draw against Peebles Rovers on Tuesday, June 15, and further pre-season friendlies are lined up against Penicuik at home tomorrow, June 29, behind closed doors and away to Coldstream on Saturday, July 3,
Rovers boss Neil Hastings says he was heartened by Saturday’s scoreline but reckons there’s a lot for his side to work on before the next Scottish Lowland Football League season kicks off on Saturday, July 17, at home to East Stirlingshire in Gala’s case.
"I was really frustrated by elements of our performance, to be truthful,” said the 29-year-old. “In terms of the result and building up confidence, it’s pleasing to get a win, but I’m not naive enough not to realise there are a lot of things for us to try to improve on over the course of our pre-season.
“It was also good that our three players up front scored the goals. Zander’s obviously always a goal threat, and we brought Jimmy and Daryl in to add more of a threat, so I’m delighted for them that they’ve all got on the scoresheet.”
Hastings says he’s pleased to see how his new-look squad, being rebuilt following the departures of former captain Danny Galbraith to Bo’ness United and last season’s top scorer, Scott-Taylor Mackenzie, to Berwick Rangers, are shaping up and he’s looking forward to the season ahead.
“Losing Danny to Bo’ness and Scott to Berwick was disappointing, but we haven’t got the ability to compete with those teams financially,” said the former Livingston defender.
“There are always going to be teams with bigger budgets sniffing around for players.
“We’ve had to bring in a few more new faces than we would have liked to, but I’m delighted with the transfer business we’ve done so far this summer and we’re now looking for one more player or potentially two.”
Seeing spectators back at Netherdale is also heartening for Hastings, he said, adding: “It’s brilliant. I think we’re getting over the top of the hill with this virus and I’m hoping we can have a crowd there on a Saturday as that helps the players and adds a bit of atmosphere.
“They’ve been used to that their whole first-team careers, and at times last year when games were getting a bit flat in spells, we missed having fans there to help us get some pace and intensity back.
“It’s also good for the fans and their mental wellbeing as they’ve been used to attending football matches on a weekly basis but they’ve been locked away. We were lucky enough to have the release of getting out for football but a lot of people weren’t that fortunate, so it’s good that they can come back now.”