What Edinburgh City can look forward to in debut SPFL campaign
On a joyous day for Edinburgh City, history was made. A 2-1 aggregate defeat of East Stirlingshire sealed their first ever promotion into the SPFL.
The play-off victory ended the Shire’s 61-year association with Scotland’s senior leagues and made the Citizens the first beneficiaries of the SPFL’s pyramid system.
Their victory also ensured that Scotland’s capital city will have three teams in the top four tiers for the first time since 1995.
The records don’t end there either, as City’s promotion means the SPFL will boast a newcomer for the first time since the 2008/09 season.
Glitz and glamour is already heading the Meadowbank Stadium’s way, with city rivals Hibernian confirming a pre-season friendly against Gary Jardine’s men days after promotion was secured.
But beyond high-profile warm-up games, what do the SPFL debutants have to look forward to in 2016/17? We dipped into the archives to see what happened on the last three occasions that newbies were introduced:
Annan Athletic – 2008/09
The Black and Golds were admitted into the then-SFL after Gretna resigned their status prior to the season.
Ironically, Annan were voted into membership at the expense of five other applicants, one of which was Edinburgh City.
Their season got off to a dream start in the league thanks to a 4-1 trouncing of Cowdenbeath on the road and they never looked back.
Just three defeats in the final 11 games saw the Galabankies finish an impressive seventh, while Mike Jack was the league’s joint-leading scorer with 15 goals.
Doing the quadruple over Elgin City, themselves only in the infancy of SFL membership, by a combined 14-1 scoreline was one particular highlight.
Gretna – 2002/03
Although now liquidated after their main benefactor Brooks Mileson withdrew funds due to ill health, Gretna lived a fairytale life for their brief time in the Scottish senior leagues.
After being voted into the Third Division in 2002/03, Gretna went unbeaten in their first four league outings, won 11 games in the division and finished a credible sixth. They also made it to the Scottish Cup third round.
Later down the line, the club would win three consecutive titles to reach the top flight in 2007 and even enjoyed a day out at the Scottish FA Cup final the year prior.
Elgin City and Peterhead – 2000/01
When the SPL was expanded to 12 teams in 2000 it left two spots to be filled in the Third Division, taken by Elgin and Peterhead after successful applications.
Unfortunately, Elgin’s travails weren’t triumphant. They opened the campaign on a seven-game winless run and only recorded five victories all season in finishing rock bottom.
Peterhead, however, fared much better. They gained a maiden three points at the first attempt and would even surprise eventual champions, and current Ladbrokes Premiership outfit, Hamilton Academical with a 2-1 home triumph.
Their season was most notable for a run to the Scottish Cup quarter finals though, beating Whitehill Welfare, Cove Rangers and Morton before having their bubble burst by Livingston.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.