Connor Scully has risen to the challenge of one Cove Rangers promotion. He is ready to do it again.
Scully came through the ranks at Cove and was one of the stalwarts of their Highland League title successes.
Last season was his first as an SPFL player, one in which he played nearly every minute of Cove’s charge to the League Two title.
The Aberdeen side now face another rise in standards as they enter a league with full-time opposition for the first time. Scully sees it is a test for him to pass.
He said: “It’s probably about being a lot smarter. You’re probably going to get pressed more; if you give the ball away in dangerous areas I think we’re going to be punished more than last season.
“Last season was a step up from Highland League. You’re going up a division now where you’re playing the likes of Partick and Falkirk – they’re training every day.
“I’ll have to be a lot smarter, a lot neater on the ball and hopefully have enough fitness to keep up with guys. The gaffer has put us through a tough pre-season but I’ve enjoyed it.
“I’m just a Highland League guy; I’ve been there all my life and this is so new to me. It’s so professional and totally different to what I’m used to. The step up is great for me and I’m really looking forward to play against good players as that will bring the best out in me.”
Cove have had one pre-season game so far – a 4-2 win over Brechin City last week – with a proposed game against Inverurie Locos at the weekend called off.
Their first game of the season will be the appetising Betfred Cup opener against Hibernian at the Balmoral Stadium on October 10, which will be screened by Premier Sports.
Scully added: “It’s a great game. The first game televised at the Balmoral and it’ll be a great game to play in. Hopefully I’m in the starting 11 for that day.
“We’re just focusing on getting fit right now. Once we get our fitness up to scratch it’s about getting a feel for the ball again. I’m very excited about the game though.”
The 27-year-old has been impressed with the standard of recruits this summer, with Seb Ross and Adam Livingston arriving after leaving Aberdeen and Motherwell respectively, while Jamie Semple has penned a loan deal from the Steelmen. Former Peterhead and Dundee striker Leighton McIntosh has also signed on.
Scully said: “The new boys seemed to have gelled pretty quick. We’re a very close group as it is; outside of football we’re all friends and I think the new guys have seen that. I’m impressed with the ones that have come in.
“There’s a lot of clubs in the Scottish leagues who’ve lost lots of boys. One of the gaffer’s main aims at the end of last season was to get most of them tied up for this season. Having a core group of guys that have played with each other last year, with a few additions, it’s always going to help and hopefully be beneficial when it comes to the first game.”
- Cove yesterday appointed former Hearts and Hibernian goalkeeping coach Alan Combe as John McCafferty’s successor, after he left Easter Road this summer. He worked with manager Paul Hartley at Alloa Athletic. McCafferty stepped down last week due to increased work commitments.