BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Craig Beattie has won eight trophies in his career, crossed swords with Barcelona and plied his trade in the Billionaire’s playground of the Barclay’s Premier League.
He became a cult hero at Hearts after playing just nine matches and can count a last minute goal in a European Championship qualifier for Scotland among his achievements.
In short, you could forgive the 32-year-old for viewing the challenge at a club which, until this season, had never even played league football as a modest undertaking.
Instead, Beattie is adamant he is as enthused for the upcoming season at Meadowbank as he can remember.
He is adamant “all eyes are on Edinburgh City” this term as he credited the Citizens for shaking up Scottish football by becoming the first side to ever win promotion through the pyramid playoffs.
And the experienced striker is tantalised by the prospect of being part of a squad making history in Ladbrokes League 2.
“I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time,” said Beattie. “I’ve had some great career highs and I want my next season to be a high, I want my next season to have some sort of silverware.
“All you need to do is look at Leicester City for an example from last year. We’re going to have a right good go.
“There were other things I could have pursued but there really was a feel-good factor about Edinburgh. You can see with the amount of cameras that come here, with interest from Sky and the newspapers, there is something happening here.
“I don’t think that would have been the case at any other club in League Two. I was aware of the situation at the end of the season when there was potential for them to get promoted through the new structure and this club has caused a real stir.
“Also, the fact we have a third team in Edinburgh coming into the football league; I think it is all eyes on Edinburgh City to see how we get on.”
It was fitting that Beattie was unveiled to the waiting media ahead of a training session at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus, which is utilised during the day by Hearts.
While the striker can look back fondly on a varied career north and south of the border, arguably his most iconic moment was ‘doing the Beattie’: his topless dash around the Hampden track after scoring the penalty against Celtic which sent the Jambos into the 2012 Scottish Cup final.
“Will I do that at Meadowbank? Well, I wouldn’t be as quick this time . . . Ryan McGowan’s still chasing me!” he jokes.
His stint at Hearts lasted for just nine game, scoring three goals, but he left with a Scottish Cup winners’ medal to add to the two he won with the Hoops. Beattie is visibly enthused to be back in a city where he feels at home – in one half, at least.
“It’s nice to be back in Edinburgh, and particularly back here [at Riccarton],” he smiled. “I had a great time here. I didn’t play too many games but I somehow managed to turn myself into a fans’ favourite, which I don’t think is ever going to go away!
“I always get invited back to Tynecastle and the fans welcome me back with open arms, which is something special. Those are memories I will look back on and cherish further down the line and I am thinking about what I have achieved.
“However, I’m professional enough to look forward and hopefully create some more great moments here. I’ve got new focus now which is doing as well as possible with Edinburgh City.”
It is understood City boss Gary Jardine afforded Beattie the opportunity to combine his playing duties with a coaching role, however the striker, who has his Uefa ‘B’ license, declined.
Instead, he will focus on his playing duties, which are likely to begin with a debut in the Betfred Cup against St Mirren this afternoon.
And, while he will seek to use his pedigree and influence for the better, the man dubbed ‘the most high profile signing in our history’ by City boss Gary Jardine is adamant he will look to his new teammates as much as they look to him.
“I’m thankful to have been successful and for what I have achieved,” he continued. “I’m very much a realist. I’m here now, the boys can look to me all they want but I can’t do anything without them.
“As much as they’ll be looking to me and thinking ‘what’s he going to bring? What’s he going to do?’ I need them more than they need me. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”