ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Edinburgh City boss Gary Jardine has paid tribute to Ross Allum after the talismanic striker inspired a 3-0 win over Cove Rangers – before emerging as Public Enemy No.1 at Harlaw Park.
Allum, 27, was a constant nuisance in the SPFL Playoff clash against the Highland League champions, opening the scoring with a wonderful header from a Dougie Gair delivery.
Gordon Donaldson doubled the visitors lead after latching onto a low cross from the superb Aaron Dunsmore, before Allum struck again on the stroke of half-time.
However, the 28-goal front-man also drew the ire of Cove players, staff and fans alike during a typically eventful 90 minutes.
He was accused of simulation in the first period, was booked for leaving the playing area during the celebrations for his second goal and was harangued by home manager John Sheran as he made his way off the pitch at a leisurely pace to be replaced in the latter stages.
Nevertheless, Jardine had nothing but praise for his clinical forward.
“Ross Allum does a really difficult job. He gets battered about by centre-backs, gets knocked over – then gets slated for diving,” said City boss Gary Jardine. “I ask him to do a really difficult job up there on his own but he always goes back for more.
“What a season he is having. He feeds off the criticism. So the more knocks he takes from defenders and the more pelters he gets from the crowd, the better. The more deadly he becomes.”
It will take an almighty collapse for City to throw away their handsome advantage at Meadowbank next weekend.
With the winners going on to face the League Two’s bottom club over two legs, East Stirlingshire, and SPFL football, are firmly within their sights.
However, the City camp are loathe to underestimate the recovery powers of a Cove side which scored 98 goals on their way to the Highland League title this season.
“We’re delighted by the result. The endeavour, drive and determination was superb against one of the top sides in non-league football,” lauded Jardine. “But I still think there is nothing between the sides. Cove are just as likely to score three goals at Meadowbank as we were here. We need to prepare properly.”