Cove Rangers chairman Keith Moorhouse believes the presence of boss John Sheran galvanised the players to beat Berwick Rangers.
The Highland League champions are 90 minutes away from promotion to the SPFL after Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Berwick Rangers in the first leg of the pyramid play-off.
The Granite City outfit face the Wee Gers at Shielfield Park on Saturday in the return leg.
Cove co-manager Sheran has been recovering at home after suffering a heart attack on April 21 with co-manager Graeme Mathieson and first-team coach Roy McBain taking the side.
Sheran watched from the stand at the Balmoral Stadium last weekend and club chief Moorhouse believed it helped the team.
He said: “John is definitely on the road to recovery and we’re delighted with that.
“John is a big part of the club and has been a big part of the club for a number of years.
“It was good to see him at the game on Saturday and see that he is recovering.
“Since the heart attack there aren’t many days where we haven’t spoken or exchanged messages of some form.
“So to see him at the game was great and was a bit of a milestone in terms of his first time back after the heart attack.
“He had been to a couple of training sessions prior to that just to talk briefly to the players.
“He felt it was important to see the players and I’m sure they got a lift from seeing him.
“But on Saturday it was a different level. It was a big game with a lot of emotion and a lot at stake. John’s presence on Saturday, I’m pretty certain, had a huge impact on the dressing room and how the team got on.
“I know Graeme and Roy were both delighted he was there.
“And it’s also fair to say that Graeme and Roy have done brilliantly – and we had every confidence in them.
“They’re two quality guys who know the club and the dressing room inside out.
“They’ve worked closely with John for a long time and they are a close-knit group.
“We had no doubts these guys would do a good job. And I’m delighted to say so far they have, but there is still a game to go.”
Getting promoted to the SPFL has been a long-term ambition for Cove. On the pitch they have built a squad capable of reaching and competing in League Two.
And off the pitch Balmoral Stadium was built as the replacement for Allan Park.
Moorhouse added: “We’ve tried to build a capable squad and the plan has been to try to move along in parallels.
“So if we are building off the park we didn’t want it to have a negative impact on what was happening on the park.
“And vice-versa – strengthening on the park needs to fit with things that are happening off the park. I think to this stage we’ve managed to do that.
“We have a really good group of players, many who have played at a higher level.
“They are more than capable of playing League Two and above.
“We are in a fortunate position that if we get promoted we might not need too many changes on the park.
“Off the park we might need to look at what we need to make sure we are a welcome addition for League Two.
“But we look at that with an ‘if’ because we haven’t made it yet.
“We’re not taking anything for granted.
“We’ve been in this position before.
“OK, we weren’t 4-0 up going into the Cowdenbeath second leg, but what happened down there last year was a real hammer blow.
“We don’t want another hammer blow this year and we’ll show Berwick Rangers the utmost respect.
“We’re hoping in the game our guys can put on a good performance.
“But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
“We know should we be successful there is a lot of work to be done.”
It’s Cove’s third attempt at promotion through the play-offs.
And Moorhouse believes they have learned from previous experiences and are now ready to make the step-up.
He said: “I’m absolutely certain we have learned.
“We are probably in the best position we have ever been as a club looking to progress forward.
“We feel we are ready to make that step up. Whereas if it had happened in the past we might not have been so ready.
“I think we are without a shadow of a doubt ready on and off the park – in every aspect possible for a play-off game.
“If things go our way on Saturday there will be a lot of people who can take a lot of personal satisfaction out of it.
“A personal satisfaction in the time and effort they have put in to get us to where we are.
“Some are with the club, some are no longer with the club.
“But all these people have played a part in getting the club to where it is and it’s important we stress that point.
“I’ve been with the club 22 years, 20 years as chairman.
“On a personal note it would give huge satisfaction to get us into the league.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and effort, but we feel we are now ready for it.”