WELL DONE: Cove Rangers manager John Sheran congratulates his players after the 1-0 win over Forres

COVE Rangers boss John  Sheran has paid tribute to the families and friends of everyone connected with the club in the wake of winning the Breedon Highland League title.
A first half strike from Mitch Megginson was enough to beat Forres Mechanics 1-0 at Mosset Park and confirm back to back championships for Cove.
It’s also a seventh title win for the club since 2001... five of which were claimed with former Montrose player and manager John at the helm.
But he deflected any credit away from himself and underlined how much the latest glory day was very much a collective effort.
“It’s days like this when you have to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the people who never get a mention when clubs celebrate victories - the families and other people behind everyone involved at the club,” said John.
“I would like to thank them for allowing us the time needed over the course of the season to train and prepare for our games, and in many cases spend whole days away playing them.
“I include my own wife and family in that, like so many others they’ve had to give up a lot so that we could pursue the dream of winning the title again.
“It’s all part of the strong bond that exists at our club and that has helped us come on on top at the end of what was a very tough and challenging league campaign.
“I also want to thank the Cove fans, many of whom have travelled long distances over the course of the season to back us.
“That support is much appreciated and it’s pleasing when you can give them days to enjoy like the one at Forres.
“But the bulk of the praise has to go to the players, they really have been magnificent from day one.
“There has never been a problem getting them to work hard, they are all winners who have motivated themselves to go on and make this a very enjoyable season for everyone at the club.”
John also applauded league runners-up Brora Rangers, who beat Deveronvale 1-0 away to ensure Cove had to take something at Mosset Park to finally see off their challenge.
“Steven Mackay (the Brora manager) can be very proud of their efforts,” said John.
“People were talking as if the title had already been won when we made a strong start to our league campaign, but we never saw it that way.
“Brora are an excellent side so it was no surprise to see them push us all the way, they made it a proper title race.
“It meant we had to go and do it ourselves, we couldn’t rely on them dropping points, and it’s fantastic we have managed to do that.
“Clinching the title with two 1-0 wins away from home underlined the character we have in our squad.
“I would also like to applaud them for doing it with 26 clean sheets in the league, which is a remarkable achievement at any level of football.
“Stuart (McKenzie, the Cove keeper) and his back four deserve credit for that but they would be the first to say that sort of defensive record  really is a team effort.
“Every player throughout the season has worked so hard to prevent our opponents creating scoring opportunities, I couldn’t have asked for any more from any of them.”
Winning the league earns Cove another crack at attempting to gain promotion to the SPFL vIa the Pyramid Play-offs.
They now face Lowland League champions East Kilbride for the right to play the side who finish bottom of League Two in the play-off final.
The first leg of the play-off semi-final is away at East Kilbride on Saturday April 27, with the return leg at Balmoral Stadium a week later.
John said: “The pleasing thing for me is we have a full squad to pick from going into the play-offs this time.
“Last season we were having to patch a team together and had so many injuries we were only able to list three substitutes.
“We are in a far better position from that point of view which is good because trying to beat East Kilbride is a huge challenge.
“We’ve already had them watched so know we are up against a really strong side ... but we are not too bad a team ourselves.”

THANK YOU: Some of Cove Rangers manager John Sheran’s family are on the right of this group celebrating their title win in the stand at Mosset Park.

THE WINNER: Another view of Mitch Megginson scoring against Forres, taken by Richard Forbes.