A few years ago playing in the SPFL seemed like a dream for Cove Rangers’ Harry Milne.
Now it is 90 minutes away from becoming reality for the defender whose journey with the Highland League champions has taken him from boys’ club football to the verge of the Scottish Leagues.
Cove take on Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park tomorrow in the second leg of the pyramid play-off final holding a 4-0 advantage.
It looks as if they are about to achieve their long-held ambition of becoming an SPFL side, something which would also cap quite a rise for Milne.
After being released by Aberdeen, the left-back played boys’ club football in Banchory.
Milne joined Cove in September 2014 and spent that season on loan at Culter Juniors, but from the 2015/16 season onwards he has been a regular.
Even when he was playing at boys’ club level, Milne felt he could become an SPFL player and is pleased that might be about to happen.
The 21-year-old said: “This is my fourth season with the club and I’ve won the league three times, which I’m proud of.
“But hopefully I will have a new challenge next season.
“I was at Aberdeen when I was younger, but I was released at 15 and I went back to playing boys’ club football in Banchory, where I’m from.
“When I came to Cove I was loaned to Culter in the juniors for a year and did well and John Sheran gave me a chance in the Cove team.
“I had been at Aberdeen for a long time and then after that I wanted to chill out a bit and play with my mates.
“It was good to be able to do that and we did quite well at that level.
“I always felt that I could play at Highland League level and higher so if we can go up, it’s exciting.
“We all feel that with the squad we’ve got we are capable of playing at a higher level so it’s up to us to do it.”
Milne says Cove are now ready to make the step up. Changes have taken place during his time with the club, including the new Balmoral Stadium built as the replacement for Allan Park.
He added: “It would mean a lot to me and the club. When I first came to the club we were just leaving Allan Park.
“I’ve seen how much has gone on at the club – not just players and the coaching staff but people behind the scenes have worked very hard to get the club to where it is now.
“We’ve got a very impressive new set-up with the stadium and it seems like people want to come and see Cove.
“We have been getting good crowds and hospitality has been sold-out all season.
“I think everything is in place for us to get promoted and we just need to get it over the line.”
It’s Cove’s third crack at the pyramid play-offs, after defeats to Edinburgh City in 2016 and Cowdenbeath last year.
Milne believes there is a different feeling around the club on this occasion.
He said: “This is my third time in the play-offs and among the boys it’s a different attitude towards it from what I’ve seen in the past. The attitude about going up and also the professionalism we’ve shown in the play-offs.
“Nobody was jumping about in the dressing room last Saturday after our win.
“We were all still focused on this week and we’ve trained well again this week.
“There probably is more belief and we have a few more players now who have played at a higher level.
“But we don’t want to take anything for granted going into the second leg.
“In the Champions League recently there have been perfect examples to everyone about what can happen if you take your foot off the gas.
“But we intend to go down there and play as we did at the Balmoral Stadium.
“We were intense and didn’t really let them play. I don’t think they played particularly badly last week.
“I just don’t think we let them play so we need to go down and try to do something similar.”