Cove Rangers are one of two Highland League sides remaining in the William Hill Scottish Cup this season. With today’s match being one step away from the Quarter-Finals of the competition, Mitch Megginson knows how much history is potentially at stake this afternoon.
The table-topping Highland League side got to this stage by defeating fellow Highlanders Formartine United in the previous round, which was a massive result for the club, claims ex-Aberdeen striker Megginson.
“We knew we had a chance to get through and create history for the club by reaching the Fifth Round and thankfully we did. The round before Brora beat Stranraer, Formartine beat Forfar and we beat Airdrieonians, so, I think that shows that we can compete with the professional sides within the Scottish leagues. I think, in all competitions this season, we have got far and overachieved – but, we have that winning mentality and in our eyes, we can beat anyone on our day. Again, it’ll be a tough game on Saturday but it is one we want to win.”
With the wintry weather which has hit Scotland in recent weeks, the league campaign has been a little stop-start for Cove.
“It has been difficult as you need to try keep up your match fitness, but, I think our results have shown that it hasn’t affected us too much. We are a fit group, anyway, but, it definitely would be nice to get a good run of games: between now and the end of the season, I think we are going to be jam-packed with games, so we are going to get a good run at things.
I think a club like ourselves, with the squad we have, we want to win every game we play, in whatever competition it is in. We want to win silverware and we want to progress as far as possible in the cups, but, our aim is no different – we want to win every game we can; it isn’t our mentality to turn up and not try to win the game, so, hopefully on Saturday we can put in a good performance and get a brilliant result.”
Megginson has experienced playing at a higher level before in his career and he knows exactly what is needed if his side are to reach the last 8.
“I have played against them a few times when I was in the Championship and I was lucky enough to score a few goals against them, too. I know they will be stern opposition as they have good players within their squad. We will need to be at our best, but, this is a great opportunity for us all to play against higher opposition and show everyone how good we really are. Full-time fitness will clearly come into it, with them being able to work on that every day while we are only part-time and working during the day. They will also get more time to rest, but, I think the main thing is a players work-rate: if someone is giving his opponent that little bit extra, it can sometimes counteract the technical ability. When you play teams higher than you, you do need to work harder than them and then taking any chances when it comes our way.”
Despite Cove not having an official stadium, they have played the majority of their games at Inverurie Loco Works’ ground this term, with Harlaw Park hosting this afternoon’s match.
“Ultimately, it does feel like our home ground this season and we do have a good record there. It is a very tight pitch, something which the Falkirk guys probably aren’t used to, so, it does suit ourselves and having home advantage always benefits the home team. We need to give 120% from the off and see what happens from there. I think it’d be criminal to lose a goal early, that just plays into any teams whose higher up the divisions than yourselves hands. We have got quick players who can hit on the counter-attack and that is what I am sure we will be trying to do, to try catch them off-guard.
I have had some big results in my career, but, to knock out a Championship team and to make the Quarter-Finals with this club would be huge; it is a mountain of a challenge for us to achieve, but, it is one we feel we can overcome.”
With this season’s Scottish Cup run and the Highland League leaders looking set to challenge for promotion to League Two at the end of this season, are the club ready for the potential step-up?
“I think the Cove chairman and directors having been building up to moments like these; if we can give the club one last push to try and reach League Two, especially with our new stadium being ready as well, then I think we are well poised with the squad we have to hold our own in the SPFL if we are to make it there in the near future. There is a buzz about the club, everything is there for us, but, there is a long way to go and we can’t get complacent: we will just take everything as it comes, one game at a time.”