NEVER mind third time lucky – Danny Handling is hoping it will be the right result at the sixth time of asking!

The 27-year-old has an unenviable record in the play-offs but is hoping he will be celebrating alongside his Edinburgh City team-mates later this month.

The Capital club had secured their spot in the League One play-offs – for the second time in three years – ahead of a lengthy trip to Stranraer on Tuesday evening, where they ultimately lost 2-1.

Now, they can look forward to attempting to secure promotion to the third tier of Scottish football for the first time in the club’s history.

Handling, in his third year with Edinburgh City, said: “I’ve been relegated through the play-offs three times – with Hibs, Dumbarton and Raith Rovers.

“Those all went through the play-off system so I’ve not got that great a record!

“It is due to change some time and I’m hoping it is going to be this time. It’s going to be tough, though, very tough.”

Last year, the Citizens were sitting second in the League Two table when the campaign was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no play-offs taking place. Twelve months prior, they finished third but fell at the first hurdle to Clyde.

For Handling, he could only watch from the stands as Hibs surrendered a two-goal lead to Hamilton in 2014 before losing out on penalties.

In 2017, goal difference saw Raith Rovers go into the play-offs, where they lost to Brechin City on penalties, and 12 months later, Handling was part of the Dumbarton squad that conceded a last-minute equaliser to Alloa before losing in extra time.

A 2-0 victory over Elgin City has at least ensured Edinburgh are in the play-offs.

Ahead of the trip to Stranraer, Edinburgh could have finished second, third or fourth – ultimately, they finished second – but Handling felt that regardless of where they finished, it was going to be a tough task getting promoted.

Speaking on Monday afternoon ahead of the trip to Stair Park, he said: “Getting the result on Saturday against Elgin was massive.

“If we did not win we would have to go to Stranraer and have to win.

“We got the win against Elgin and that takes the pressure off us and onto the others.

“It could have been frustrating but we did well to secure it.

“It does not really matter where we finish.

“We play the same games and all the teams are capable of winning.

“We have to try to win all the games we play.

“It is going to be one of those where we have to go into games looking to do the same thing we have done all season and try to win.”

It has been a stop-start season for part-time clubs up and down the country, with a two-month shutdown between January and March.

Since the restart, the Ainslie Park side’s form has been impressive.

Only League Two champions Queen’s Park, Stirling Albion and now Stranraer have managed to stop Handling and team-mates over 90 minutes.

The impressive run of form coincided with Gary Naysmith’s arrival at the club.

The former Scotland, Everton and Hearts full-back succeeded James McDonagh, who became the club’s sporting director.

Handling said: “The gaffer has come in and brought us a new lease of life. James is a good coach and done well in his time but there is a new life and a bit of freshness about the place.”