GARY Jardine believes his big-name trio prove Edinburgh City is the perfect pace to find life beyond full-time football.
Jardine has been named League Two manager of the month for the second successive time, with goalkeeper Andrew Stobie scooping the player award for December.
It caps a remarkable turnaround for the SPFL newcomers, who went 17 matches without a victory before going through November and December undefeated in the league.
The recruitment of former Celtic and Scotland striker Craig Beattie in the summer highlighted the capital club’s ambitions following their promotion from the Lowland League.
And the signing last week of ex-Aberdeen and Middlesbrough midfielder Josh Walker, on the back of the capture of former Manchester City, Millwall and Southend United player Marc Laird earlier in the campaign, is proof they are determined to make a lasting impact on the senior leagues.
According to Jardine, it also shows the pulling power City have with their combination of part-time football and life in Edinburgh.
He told Capital City Press: “The bigger picture is the club want to improve at this level. The first part is staying in the league and the second part is trying to progress through them.
“It was a new project for Craig but he liked what I had to say.
“Josh is at home here in Edinburgh and he wouldn’t want to play part-time football anywhere else.
“I think he still harbours hopes of playing full-time but being in Edinburgh lets him be a family man and allows him to spend time with his kids. It suits him down to the ground.
“Marc Laird is similar. Marc was a full-time pro down south for the last 15 years and he’s enjoyed the part-time aspect, which has allowed him to spend time with his family.
“There is life outside full-time football. It doesn’t mean anyone’s going to take anything less seriously or put any less effort in.
“If you’re going to play part-time football and you live within Edinburgh and the surrounding area in the Lothians then why would you want to play elsewhere? We’re a really good option.”
Jardine was always convinced City would come good once they got used to playing in League Two and a string of impressive results since they broke their duck against Montrose in November has lifted them up to sixth and within four points of a play-off place.
However, still just two points above bottom club Cowdenbeath, Jardine is not getting carried away.
He added: “There was always a worry that things might not turn around but you could see with the way the players trained that it would turn.
“The club as a whole stayed positive. Our objective was to stay in the league and we’re only just past the half-way mark, so there was always still plenty of time.”