COVE’S BOND OF BROTHERS HOPING TO PUT UP A GOOD SHOW IN CUP CLASH WITH CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS
TEAM LEADER: Cove Rangers skipper Mitch Megginson.
COVE Rangers captain Mitch Megginson believes the strong team spirit in their dressing room will aid their bid to shock Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.
Cove face the Cymru Premier side in the third round of the competition at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow, 5.15pm.
Nomads are seen as huge favourites to advance because they have already beaten Kilmarnock in the Europa League qualifiers and drawn 0-0 with Aberdeen in a friendly over the last couple of months.
They also reached the Challenge Cup final last season, so Mitch is under no illusions about how tough it will be - but he’s determined to give it his best shot.
“We are going there to try and win, that’s in the blood if you are a Cove Rangers player.” said Mitch.
“We don’t go anywhere thinking we are just there to make up the numbers.
“All of us are desperate to get a result that reflects how far we have come as a team, and a club, over the last few years.
“There is no way we are going to spend something like seven hours going down to Wales on a bus to then just roll over because everyone is saying Nomads are better than us.
“If Nomads want to beat us they are going to have to earn that right.
“We know it’s one of the toughest games we could have got in the competition.
“Their players are really high quality, they play in the Europa League qualifiers every year and beating a Scottish Premiership side, as they did this season, is an achievement that deserves the utmost respect.
“The draw with Aberdeen also reflects great credit on them because the Dons are one of the top sides in our country.
“We accept we will have little hope of winning if we aren’t at the very top of our game.
“But we will do our best to deliver that, even more so because we know it’s also the first Cove Rangers game to be shown live on television.
“It’s another historic moment for Cove, but we don’t want it to be remembered as one that was also a bad experience for our club.
“It’s about showing the club in a good light and letting people who maybe didn’t know much about Cove Rangers before see that we’re not such a bad team.”
Mitch feels the close bond that exists between the Cove players will be a huge asset as they attempt to get a win that would also strike a blow for Scotland, given how well Nomads have done so far against opponents from up here.
“We are very proud of just how close that bond in our dressing room is,” said Mitch.
“We’ve all had different clubs and experienced different dressing rooms but I think if you were to ask any of our lads they would say ours is the best.
“It doesn’t happen by accident, the tone was set by guys like our former captain Eric Watson, who made sure anyone who came to Cove Rangers was welcomed and made to feel valued and appreciated.
“We all follow his example and work hard to make sure everyone in our squad feels a part of what we are trying to achieve.”
Mitch reckons the fact many of the Cove Rangers players have known each other for years because they were all once youth players with Aberdeen has helped strengthen the sense of camaraderie within their dressing rom.
Those who come into that category are Mitch, Jamie Masson, Jordon Brown, Scott Ross, Ryan Strachan, Connor Scully, Blair Yule, Harry Milne and latest signing Fraser Fyvie.
“We were at Aberdeen and some of us have been playing together since about the age of eight,” said Mitch.
“Some of us were in the same team and others were a couple of years older but we became friendly and always kept an eye on how each of our careers went.
“It’s brilliant we have all eventually found ourselves back together with Cove Rangers all of these years later.
“You’ve got boys who eventually went to Peterhead, been first team at Aberdeen and the likes of Fraser, who has played at the highest levels down in England.
“They have all brought valuable experience to our squad - with the added bonus that we are also the best of mates.
“We know each other’s families and all that sort of stuff, you could hardly get a closer bunch of players than we are right now.”
Some players who were with Cove last season have since moved on but Mitch says that has had no affect on the team spirit in the home dressing room.
“People come and go in football all of the time,” he said.
“It was the same when we were in the Highland League, there were always changes here and there.
“You never liked seeing team-mates leave, but you come to accept it’s part of the game we are in.
“But when people leave others come in and the ones who have come here over the last few months have certainly given all of us a lift.
“They have gelled in straight away and our performances so far reflect that.
“We are sitting at the top of League Two and playing some good football, that would never have happened if we weren’t united and fighting for each other.
“Hopefully that strong bond can help us cope with the big challenge in front of us tomorrow as well.”