Keep your feet on the ground and your head in the clouds.
It is an adage that is meant to resemble the balance between ambition and level-headedness, something you could apply to Cove Rangers right now.
They are ahead of where their five-year plan would have them at this point, having been promoted to League One the year after entering the SPFL.
A club that played its last Highland League game on April 20 2019 – a 2-1 home win against Clach – will welcome East Fife to the Balmoral Stadium on October 17 in the third tier.
In chairman Keith Moorhouse, the club has a figurehead who will not get carried away with the success that has become embedded within the club in recent years. They won three out of four Highland League titles and numerous cup competitions before their ascension to the senior ranks. The League Two triumph was an unexpected surprise.
Moorhouse said: “The kind of people we’ve got at the club tend not to get carried away. That’s right through the club and it’s always been like that. The success of the team, I think it’s possibly taken for granted for granted how successful it and the club’s been. There’s an expectancy for that to continue.
“We need to be mindful and respectful of the fact we’re playing at a completely different level right now. Just enjoy where we are and see where it takes us. If we need to flex the plan here or there, we’ll do that. Nothing is set in stone. But it’s always good to have goals.”
Rounding out the month of October is Partick Thistle at the Balmoral Stadium, the first league game they will have played against a full-time club.
Encounters against bigger sides in the past have given Cove a platform to test themselves. In last year’s Betfred Cup, they lost 3-2 at Caley Thistle with 10 men away from home and took Dundee to penalties. When still a Highland League side, they gave Falkirk – then managed by current Cove boss Paul Hartley – a fright in the Scottish Cup.
Going full-time themselves is part of the long-term plan for the Aberdeen side, an ambition that has not been derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Moorhouse said: “It’s a difficult to one to answer just now because it will depend on progress this year. We’ve got a five-year plan and we’re now into year two, so we’ve still got four years of the plan to run. We’ll take it as it comes. The plan is done in a way that we can adjust it – it’s flexible.
“Has it set us back? It will depend on what happens this season. Only then we’ll be able to reflect and decide what’s the next stage and the timescale look like.
“We’re actually ahead of the plan. If anything, I’d say we’re ahead of it rather than the pandemic setting us back. We didn’t expect to be in League One at this moment in time.”
Hartley has taken Cove on to another level since his arrival last year. Disappointing ends to his tenures at Dundee and Falkirk required some time to get over.
However, the two appear to be a good match for each other. Hartley, who along with his management team recently committed to the club for 2025, was looking for a way back into the Scottish game, while Cove were looking for someone to build on the standards John Sheran had set.
Moorhouse added: “That’s a big step for the club to offer them those contracts to begin with and big for them to commit to that. It’s a mutual recognition of the work that’s been done and the work that’s still to be done.
“It’s a big boost for us but when you’re able to talk to Paul, he respects the club has given him that platform to get the club where we want to be. It’s good for the club and the individuals. It’s exciting times ahead but we’re not getting carried away.
“We’re now coming up against two full-time clubs and just over a year ago we were in the Highland League. That’s the reality, what people need to still think of.”