THAT WAS SIMPLY THE BEST SAY COVE BOSSES JOHN AND GRAEME AFTER HISTORIC PLAY OFF VICTORY
COVE Rangers co-managers John Sheran and Graeme Mathieson are in dreamland today after leading the club to promotion into the SPFL.
Goals from Jamie Masson, Jordon Brown and Paul McManus gave Cove a 3-0 victory over Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park in the second leg of their SPFL Pyramid Play-off final and an emphatic 7-0 win on aggregate.
It means Cove have become the first Highland League side to earn promotion via the play-offs and they will be playing in League Two next season.
John, who was at the match despite having suffered a heart attack just four weeks ago today, said: “This has to be the top achievement of my football career.
“And I’m even more proud because the players did it in style, making history by playing some top quality football over all four matches in the play-offs (Cove also beat Lowland League champions East Kilbride in the semis).”
John praised Graeme, first team coach Roy McBain and the rest of the club’s back room staff for the way they led the team during his enforced absence.
“They have all been absolutely brilliant,” he said.
“Everyone has muscled in and done a bit extra to ensure what happened to me didn’t take the focus off the important job that had to be done.
“Graeme and Roy deserve particular praise, they kept calm and did an amazing job to motivate the players all the way through the play-offs.”
Graeme, who is now into his 11th year as a coach with Cove, said: “We scored 11 goals and conceded only one in the four play-off games, which says it all really on how well the team managed those.
“We asked them to use the four games to show just how good a side they are and they did that.
“Their quality was there for all to see.
“The challenge for them now is to see if they can do that at a higher level too, and I think they can.
“We will look to strengthen, as you always have to, but we are fortunate to have a strong nucleus of players who have already played at League Two level or higher.”
Graeme is delighted John was able to be there to witness their glory day.
He said: “It was unbelievable to see him out there jumping about for joy after all that he’s been through.
“We see ourselves as a team, John, myself, Roy and everybody else who works behind the scenes.
“We really missed John because he’s such a huge figure at the club.”
Both men paid tribute to skipper Eric Watson, who came on for the last few minutes in what was his farewell appearance after 12 trophy laden years with Cove.
Cove chairman Keith Moorhouse presented the 37-year-old defender with a special trophy to thank Eric for his many years of loyal service.
John, who signed Eric during his first spell as Cove manager, said: “Eric has made a huge contribution to all of the success enjoyed by the club over those 12 years.
“There is no doubt he is the best signing I ever made for Cove so playing in the match that clinched promotion was a fitting send off for a man who has been a great help to me.”
Graeme added: “Eric is an absolute legend.
“You will never meet a nicer guy off the pitch but put him in a Cove shirt and he becomes a warrior who would run through brick walls for you.
“Eric is a winner too, I doubt if anyone will ever beat his record haul of trophy successes.
“He bowed out in style and it was so typical of Eric that he almost scored twice during the time he was on at Berwick.
“I wish him well in the next stage of his career and any club that gets Eric will find there is no better leader to have out there when the going gets tough.”