Cove Rangers will rise to the challenge of being a League One club, says chairman Keith Moorhouse.
The SPFL’s newest club finally had their promotion confirmed this week, after Hearts and Partick Thistle lost their arbitration case against the SPFL, and Moorhouse wants the club now to push forward.
Cove will start the season at home to East Fife, before an away day at Balmoor for the first derby of the season with Peterhead. They close out October with a home game against Thistle.
They exceeded their own expectations by winning League Two last season, in what was their first campaign in the Scottish leagues. Moorhouse appreciates the challenges increase this season but that Cove will be prepared for them.
He said: “I think there’s some cracking games that lie ahead. Peterhead, Montrose, Forfar; four clubs north of Dundee and mini-derbies between those clubs over the course of the season. You’ve got the two full-time clubs, Falkirk and Partick Thistle, that we need to be respectful too.
“There’s not an easy game in that league. You just need to look at the teams in that league and where they landed last season to know this is going to be a fair challenge for us. But one we’ll be ready for.
“We’ve never hidden the fact we’re an ambitious club and have got plans in place to get us where we want to be. This is the next step; it’s come along quicker than we expected but we’ll be prepared. We’ll give it our best shot.”
The other games against Peterhead come on January 2 at the Balmoral Stadium and March 13 at Balmoor. They finish the season at home to Montrose and are away to Forfar on Boxing Day.
It is a relief for Moorhouse to be talking about football again, after an exhausting period that started with the halting of football in March and culminated in Cove, alongside Dundee United and Raith Rovers, having to fight to keep their respective promotions in place.
Moorhouse said: “I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anything quite like this. You’ve got the season stopping early, the reconstruction talks – is it going to happen? Is it not? – where do we fit in here?
“When all that was brought to a close, we then had the legal case to go through. It’s been pretty challenging not just for me but for other people at the football club. But we did what we felt was right and we’re now looking forward, not back.
“To be able to now start talking about football again and moving forward is a great place to be. It’s what the whole club was working for last season. I’m delighted we’re now talking about fixtures and planning for the season ahead.
“We need to be mindful of the fact we’re now in League One and be respectful to the teams in League One. We’re still the new kids on the block – any game is going to be difficult and we’re under no illusions League One will not be the same as League Two. We need to be ready for that.”
Cove will be working on improving their squad in the weeks ahead, with manager Paul Hartley having already prepared a list of targets.
The majority of the first-team squad was already under contract, with Alan Redford the only senior player to depart.