Evening Express

Cove Rangers spurred on by Highland League flag day spirit

Cove's Daniel Park and Aberdeen's Gary Mackay-Steven. Picture by Darrell Benns

Daniel Park is determined not to let Fraserburgh spoil Cove Rangers’ flag day.

The Highland League champions will be presented with the flag for winning the title last season prior to tomorrow’s match against the Broch at the Balmoral Stadium.

It’s the Aberdeen outfit’s first league game of the new season because they were still involved in the League Cup last weekend.

Park doesn’t want Fraserburgh to spoil the party tomorrow and is hoping for three points against a team he believes will be one of Cove’s main rivals this term as they look to retain the title.

The attacker said: “It’s the first Highland League game at the new ground and we’ll get clapped out and the flag is being presented.

“So it would be nice to win – but we look to win every game, that won’t affect us.

“We’ll be going out to do a job, we know what we need to do.

“It would be the perfect start in the league because you always like to beat the teams you think are going to be close to you in the league.

“We look to win every game so it wouldn’t matter who we were playing.

“But Fraserburgh have signed well and strengthened again, it will be a tough game.

“They finished fourth but were in with a shout of winning the league for most of last season.

“We know what they’re like and hopefully we get the result.

“We were disappointed not to go up last season.

“But coming back everyone has got the buzz back and we’re looking forward to getting going against Fraserburgh.

“We know it will be a tough game, it always is against them. We’ve got to be confident, we’re the reigning champions and we’ve made some good signings in Blair Yule, Jordon Brown and Jordan MacRae.

“Some of the young lads have come in as well so the team is looking good.”

This season is Cove’s first in their new ground with John Sheran’s men spending the last three years using Inverurie’s Harlaw Park and other grounds to play their home fixtures.

Park is enjoying having a permanent base and is also enjoying playing on Cove’s new artificial pitch. He says the construction of a players’ lounge within the Balmoral Stadium has boosted the morale of the squad.

He added: “Everyone is loving it. At the start the pitch was stickier than we expected because it was newly laid.

“But it’s had a machine over it and it’s fine now.

“It rained prior to the Raith game which also helped.

“The pitch is really good and the set-up and facilities are brilliant.

“The players are buzzing about it, we’ve got a players’ lounge and everyone is going up to games earlier and sitting and having a laugh. It’s been really good for morale.”

Park believes Cove can take plenty of positives from their League Cup group stage campaign.

They acquitted themselves well and picked up three points from four games.

After narrow defeats to Inverness Caley Thistle, Hearts and Cowdenbeath Cove beat League One Raith Rovers 2-0 last Saturday.

Park says facing teams from the SPFL has been good preparation for the start of the Highland League.

He said: “Playing in the league Cup is a good chance for everyone because you’re playing in competitive games straightaway.

“We had three friendlies and then we were straight into the competitive games.

“It means you’re switched on and you get to face full-time teams you don’t normally get to face.

“It’s been a really good experience for everyone, especially playing against Hearts and Inverness.

“It’s a step up from the Highland League but we handled ourselves well and worked hard.

“I think we got good results, although the Cowdenbeath result was disappointing. It was a worthwhile experience for us.

“In the Raith Rovers game we showed what we can do, we were attacking well and defending well as a team so it’s looking good.”