Aberdeenshire Shield final: Forbes says Banks o’ Dee victory over Cove would send out serious statement

Jamie Watt, right, is fighting fit.

Banks o’ Dee co-manager Tommy Forbes insists shocking Highland League leaders Cove Rangers would send out a massive statement of intent.

The Junior superleague leaders face Cove tonight in the Aberdeenshire Shield final at Harlaw Park, Inverurie (8pm).

Banks o’ Dee have overcome Deveronvale, Inverurie Locos and Keith on the way to the final and want to take another scalp.

Forbes admits Cove will be favourites but reckons anything can happen in a one-off.

He said: “You have seen shocks in the FA Cup and the Scottish Cup so why not tonight?

“If Cove underestimate a bit you never know.

“If they have an off night and we are right at it anything can happen.

“We will go there and give them a right good game that is for sure.

“It would be a massive statement to beat Cove as no other team has done that to them in the league this season.”

This will be a mouth-watering clash of the top north side against the top Highland League outfit. Cove are undefeated in 22 league games while Banks o’ Dee have lost just once in the Superleague in 14 games.

Forbes said: “We are looking forward to the final as it is a bonus game as winning the league title is our main priority.

“On the way to the final we beat three Highland League sides. We beat Keith and showed a bit of character when 2-0 down early on to come back.

“Then we beat Inverurie Locos (4-1) which was a great performance and result.

“Then we beat Deveronvale (7-0) when everything we did clicked. So we are certainly there on merit.

“We are up against a Cove side who are bashing everyone in the Highland League at the moment. I managed to get up to watch them in the Scottish Cup game against Formartine United.

“Cove are a well-oiled machine so it is a tough task.

“However, it is 11 against 11 and we will give it a go.”

Striker Jamie Watt is available having shrugged off a knock. Watt netted four times in the 7-0 semi win over Deveronvale.

Banks o’ Dee reached the final last season only to lose 5-2 to Inverurie Locos.

“Last year we let ourselves down in the final,” said Forbes.

“We beat Buckie, Formartine and Turriff to get to the final, but then lost it 5-2 when some horrendous defensive mistakes really let us down.

“Losing that final still rankles with me a bit.”

Cove going out “all guns blazing” to win

Cove will go out “all guns blazing” to win tonight’s final, says boss John Sheran

Superleague side Dee enter the final having humbled Highland League high-flyers Inverurie Locos in the quarter-finals on their own patch, before despatching Deveronvale 7-0 and Cove Sheran thinks, if they were to enter the Highland League, they’d be near the top of the division.

Rangers, who are aiming to leave the Highland League via the play-offs this term, will also be looking to make up for their only “domestic” defeat this season, in the Aberdeenshire Cup final to Formartine United, by lifting the Shield.

Sheran said: “We’re looking forward to it.

“I think for me it’s another game, a cup final, we want to keep winning, so we’ll be picking our strongest team available and we’re going to go out there all guns blazing to try to win the game.

“Banks o’ Dee have got the facilities, the players and the money to be in the Highland League and probably with the players they’ve got there, journeymen ex-Highland Leaguers who should be playing in the Highland League.

“They’re probably equivalent to a top-six Highland League team.

“That’s the view we’ve got and that’s how we’ll be proceeding with the game.

“Any top 10 team in the Highland League poses a risk if you’re not on it and the boys are certainly looking forward to the game.

“We’ll just be treating it like we’re playing any other Highland League team.

“We just like to win games and if there’s silverware as well that’s the bonus.”

Cove don’t have any long-term injury concerns ahead of the games, but do have a few knocks here and there which could see players ruled out.

However, Sheran was giving his players right up until the last minute to make tonight’s squad.