Cove Rangers hitman Mitch Megginson has played down talk labelling their clash with Brora Rangers as a title decider.
The champions meet their nearest challengers for the first time this term at the Balmoral Stadium tomorrow.
Brora are top of the Highland League table on goal difference, but Cove have two games in hand.
It’s difficult not to see the game as a chance for the Granite City outfit, gunning for another title and crack at the SPFL play-offs, to kill off any Cattachs league charge.
But Megginson said: “It’s a bit early to say it’s a title decider, because there are still a few games to go.
“It’s three points and we go into every game wanting to win – it’s all we know.
“Tomorrow’s no different.
“If we lose and Brora beat us it’s not the end of the world.
“We’ve got two games in hand and are still to play them again.
“It’s certainly going to be a cracker, with the two best teams in the league going head to head for the first time.”
Nevertheless, Megginson recognises the challenge presented by an improved Brora this term.
They are challenging despite Cove dropping points in less matches than they did last year, when they ran away with the Highland crown.
He said: “It’s funny (we’re being pushed harder), because this season our record’s better than it was last season.
“We’ve only lost one this season, we’d drawn three last time – although it’s still three points dropped.
“Brora weren’t the team they are now and seem to be playing well under (boss and chief goalscorer Sid) Mackay.
“He’s got them firing.
“You don’t expect to get the title handed to you, you expect to be challenged and it looks like Brora will be our main challengers.”
Cove haven’t been in competitive action since January 26, with bad weather seeing away matches with Formartine and Keith postponed.
However, there should be no ring rust as, while rivals Brora were winning 5-1 at home to Strathspey last weekend, Keith travelled to the Balmoral for a bounce game.
Megginson said: “We managed to get a bounce game at Cove against Keith last Saturday.
“It’s not the same as a proper match, but it was 90 minutes and we played to high intensity.
“(The gap in fixtures has) also done us a favour, by getting a couple of boys with knocks fit and raring to go for tomorrow.”
Brora boss Mackay, 37, is one of 28-goal Megginson’s rivals in the Highland scoring charts, with 20 strikes so far this season.
Does 26-year-old Megginson see a future where he is still banging in goals while also picking the team?
He said: “I’m concentrating on scoring goals just now, I’ve not really thought about coaching.
“But he’s done a cracking job since he’s taken over.
“He’s scored a few this season and they’re a strong team.
“But no, I’ve not really thought that far ahead.”