Blair Yule has been with Cove Rangers on their rise through the leagues and knows a thing or two about winning titles.
As this time of year comes round again, Cove find themselves in a familiar position, challenging at the top end of the table.
The visit of Falkirk to the Balmoral Stadium tomorrow brings a reminder of the pressures and excitement that come with contending for trophies.
Falkirk are top of League One by three points from Cove, who have shown little trouble adaptation to the rise in standard.
Yule said: “For as long as I remember at Cove, it’s always been a pretty successful club. How we’ve done the last few years, that experience will certainly stand us in good stead.
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— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) April 13, 2021
“Whatever happens on Saturday, we know it’s not the be-all and end-all. We’ve still got plenty of games to think about after this and hopefully pick up enough points to finish the season really well.
“The play-off places would be nice because we’re still new to this league. At this stage you’ve got two big focuses: the play-offs and the league (title). We know where we are as a team in this league, we’ve played everyone now, and after the split we’ll be going against the top teams who’ve earned the right to be there.
“It’s not going to be anything we’re unsure about or unknown to us. We’re aware of what’s ahead of us and we’re looking to continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
The continued progress, seemingly unabated, has taken Yule aback a little. But that doesn’t mean they are just content with where they are now.
Yule added: “It has been a little surprising. Everyone at Cove believed we could do well, but it probably wasn’t until before the last break that we got a bit of time to reflect and realise this has been good so far.
“It’s not to say we’re quite happy with where we are – there’s no point sitting back now and we’re looking to push on.
“It hasn’t been easy to get where we are. We started off the season like a house on fire then struggled for a few weeks. That probably levelled us off a bit; you probably need something like that to understand there is good teams in this league.
“It’s been a good season, but there’s definitely much more to play for.”
Win or lose tomorrow, it isn’t decisive in terms of Cove’s aspirations for the season. They will still have the rest of the top half to play after the split.
But facing the league leaders at this stage of the season, with the end in sight, has to bring out a little extra.
Yule said: “It will definitely inspire us a bit more, but, at the same time, we’ve come back and focused on the games ahead of us. There’s so many so soon, there’s no other way to look at it.
“It’s going to be quite a big game, but it’s not the last game of the season. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and get a good result. If not, there’s still a lot of time yet and the split is coming up.”
Cove have rattled off five games, plus a Scottish Cup tie, since their return to action on March 20. The post-split schedule will see them play four times in 10 days, with the play-offs to follow in quick succession.
Yule added: “It’s testament to the way the guys have looked after themselves. Maybe the guys that don’t play so regularly as well, they’ve come back looking really sharp.
“It’s been good for the players, because every time you get a break from something, it gives you the appetite to get back to it. The only thing you want to do in football is play games and hopefully win games, especially at this level.
“We’ve had a full week of training this week and you can recover a bit, because we’ve had so many games. But we’re more than used to it by now.”