COVE BOSS GRAEME MAKES RALLYING CALL TO BLUE ARMY AHEAD OF PLAY-OFF REMATCH AT BALMORAL
FAN POWER: The Cove Rangers loyal blue army were out in force and helped inspire their team in the first leg against East Kilbride.
COVE Rangers are hoping their fans can raise their voices like they’ve never done before to help their bid to reach the SPFL Pyramid Play-off final for the second year in a row.
Cove face East Kilbride at Balmoral Stadium tomorrow in the second leg of their play-off semi-final as both sides battle to earn the right to take on Berwick Rangers, who have finished bottom of League Two, in the final.
Cove won 2-1 in the first leg but co-manager Graeme Mathieson warned the tie against the Lowland League champions is far from finished.
Graeme admitted a helping hand from the home fans in what is expected to be a bumper crowd would also be welcome during what he described as “our biggest and most difficult match of the season.”
Graeme, who confirmed he has a fully fit squad to pick from, added: “If ever there has been a day when we need the Cove fans to get right behind us, this is it.
“We had a bumper backing at the first leg and it made a big difference.
“The boys got a huge lift when we arrived at the stadium in East Kilbride and saw the sheer amount of Cove fans who had made the effort to be there.
“You could hear them talking about how determined they were not to let them down and it was great that they didn’t.
“It would be great if we could hear the Cove fans loud and clear again tomorrow.
“I know from my own playing days that it does make a huge difference, it’s helps to drive you on, especially during the more challenging stages of games.
“We could also do with their backing because this is going to be by far our biggest and most difficult match of the season.
“It’s great we are going into the second match a goal ahead but the tie is far from over.
“We have to treat it as if we are only at the half way stage of a cup semi-final.
“You wouldn’t take anything for granted if you were one up with 45 minutes to go, so it’s vital we don’t when there is still double that amount of football to be played.
“We’ve had some pretty frank discussions in training this week and are well aware how big the task in front of us is.
“I reckon we are going to need to play way better than we did last week if we are to make it through to the final.
“East Kilbride are by far the best team we have faced this season.
“We are anticipating them making a few changes tomorrow and that they will most likely be even better than they were last week.
“If we don’t raise our game as well then we could end up paying a heavy price.
“It’s a day when everyone associated with our club, on and off the pitch, is going to have to pull together if we are to earn the result we all desperately want.”
The Cove players were boosted when Graeme’s fellow co-manager, John Sheran, made a surprise visit to one of their training sessions earlier in the week.
John is making a good recovery after suffering a heart attack, although he won’t be able to attend tomorrow’s match.
But defender Harry Milne admitted the desire to move a step closer to maybe gaining promotion into the SPFL for John will be in their minds when they take to the park.
“Everything we do from here on is for John,” said Harry, who scored the opener last weekend.
“We know how much gaining promotion would mean to him and that’s what we hope to do.
“But John would be the first to remind us we’ve achieved nothing yet.
“Going into the second leg 2-1 ahead at least gives us a chance of making it to the next stage, especially with the second game being played at Balmoral, where we’ve had a fantastic record all season.
“For a lot of us this will also be our third attempt at getting promotion.
“Hopefully it will prove to be third time lucky but we know there is still a lot of hard graft ahead if that is to happen.”
SUPPORTERS are reminded that the Fan Zone at Balmoral Stadium will be open from the earlier than normal time of noon tomorrow.
RALLYING CALL: Cove Rangers co-manager Graeme Mathieson.