GIVEN how hard they have worked in recent years to get up to National League Two level, it is no surprise to hear from Gordonians captain Danny Osugo that the Aberdeen club will not be giving up their place in the division over the coming weeks without one hell of a fight.
Last Saturday, the Countesswells outfit’s hopes of staving off relegation were dealt a big blow when they lost 5-0 to fellow strugglers Falkirk at Horne Park. The result saw Falkirk, who have seven games left compared to Gordonians three, leapfrog them into 10th spot on points difference and left Osugo and co second bottom.
From the outside, given Falkirk’s number of fixtures still to play, it would seem that Gordonians and, even more so, Whitecraigs (12 points behind) are in trouble, but Gordonians have never done things the easy way in recent years and their close-knit bunch of players led by head coach Ryan Morrice have defied the odds before – and are out to do so again.
“When I returned to the club around six seasons ago after university in Glasgow we were in the regional leagues, but there was never any doubt in my mind I’d come back to play at Gordonians because I feel a connection to things here,” said the 27-year-old, who went to Robert Gordon’s College in the Granite City and first joined the club straight from school.
“We were in Caledonia One at that time when I came back [in 2014-15] and six or seven of us returned at the same time so the squad began to build from there. It took time because Orkney went up one year then Highland before we managed to get up the year after [2016-17] and there was a bit of momentum at the club beginning to build.
“Two seasons ago, we knew we were a good side, but we didn’t always show it and, as a result, we finished in mid-table in National Three. We had a couple of good results at the end of that season though and that was a bit of a lightbulb moment for us, it made us realise we could challenge for promotion the next season.
“A few key players came in last year and we just managed to string together a good run of results early on, and carried it on to eventually go up [winning the league on 97 points with Newton Stewart second]. I think we surprised a few teams in the league because they knew we were a good side, but we had been inconsistent before, however this time we were ruthless.”
Making the step up a level last summer was always going to stretch a club with limited resources and at times this term Gordonians have found it difficult, but wins over Glasgow Accies, Falkirk, Whitecraigs and Hamilton Bulls have shown what they are capable of on their day.
In their remaining three games they face promotion chasers GHK at Anniesland tonight [Friday], leaders Stewart’s Melville on March 21st and Newton Stewart on April 4th.
“I think National Two is the most competitive league in Scotland, so we knew it was going to be tough this year,” says the utility back, who played for Glasgow Hawks and Hillhead/Jordanhill whilst studying at Strathclyde University. ” There are so many teams that still have things to play for and that means that every game can really go either way.
“We did lose some players in the summer, guys moving away and others retiring and what have you, so this has been a bit of a transitional year for us. What is great though is that there are loads of 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who have been in and around the first team squad in recent times and really worked hard, which bodes well for the future at Gordonians. It has been a steep learning curve for them, but they have coped very well given the standard of some of the opponents they have played against and they seem to relish that challenge.
“And now we know we have three big challenges left, starting away to GHK this weekend. We know they lost a close one [to Dumfries Saints] last time out and are still gunning for promotion, so we just have to concentrate on our game and go down there and give it our best shot.
“Whatever ends up happening over the next few weeks, I could not be prouder of the guys for the commitment they have shown this season and it is an honour to be captain of the club. We are a bunch of guys who have come together from various different places, work hard at training and during games, and then socialise together – that is great to be a part of.”
- Gordonians are at Old Anniesland this [Friday] evening to play GHK in Tennent’s National League Division Two at 8pm