COVE Rangers skipper Mitch Megginson says they will have to show lessons have been learned from losing to Auchinleck Talbot last season if they want to avoid another early exit from the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Mitch will lead us out in Ayrshire on Saturday, almost exactly a year on from when we lost 2-1 to Talbot at the same stage of the competition.
“They gave us our toughest games of last season so we know we are in for another huge challenge,” said Mitch.
“If we want to come out on top this time those of us who played last season are going to have show we have learned from what happened.”
Cove were  drawn at home against the Ayrshire Junior giants in the second round last term but were held to a 1-1 draw at Balmoral Stadium then lost 2-1 in the replay.
Mitch said: “We were annoyed at not finishing the tie in the first match, we had enough chances.
“They then got a penalty to get back into the game and managed to take it down to their place.
“The game in Ayrshire was by far the hardest we experienced in the whole of that campaign.
“Nobody in the Highland League was up to their standard and we even had it a lot easier in the promotion play-offs.
“Talbot are physical but also a good side, so anyone going there knows they are really up against it.
“What could help is that more than half of our current squad played them last season, so know what to expect.
“We know the crowd will be right on top of us and Talbot will come out determined to have a right go at us.
“Even though we lost the last time, I actually enjoyed playing in the atmosphere, every player should.
“When you know you are in for a game, as we are,  a noisy crowd can actually help to inspire you and make you even more eager to do well.
“We also know that we won’t be getting as much time on the ball as we used to in the Highland League, which was one thing that helped Talbot that last time.
“That’s something we are more used to now that we’ve played a quarter of our League Two campaign.
“But the main thing is making sure we are on our game 100% from the off, if we can do that then we have a chance.”
The Cove players will also be looking to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season, away to Stenhousemuir.
Manager Paul Hartley responded to that by giving the squad a whole week off because we didn’t have a match last weekend.
Mitch said: “To be honest, we would all have preferred to have had a match to get that defeat out of our system.
“Losing hasn’t been part of the psyche during my time with Cove Rangers.
“When it does happen it hurts a lot.
“It means you can wait for the next match and the opportunity to bounce back.
“But the bonus from getting a break is that it has allowed us to recharge for what we know is going to be a massive test.
“It was certainly well timed for me because I’ve been carrying a few knocks and the week resting has helped to clear those up.
“It’s been the same with most of the other guys because it’s been pretty full-on in since July, with games at weekends and in midweek too.
“It’s good to have had that chance to rest our bodies.
“We are ready to go again, though.”