Cove Rangers midfielder Fraser Fyvie believes players in the lower-leagues deserve huge credit for balancing work and football commitments.
Fyvie was a full-time player with Dundee United until 2019, when he dropped down to League Two with Cove.
While the Aberdeen side have ambitions to go full-time, they have won a title and competed at the top end of League One among professional clubs while still being part-time.
Clubs in League One and Two have also had to deal with a packed fixture schedule since football returned on March 20, with Cove playing 10 games since March 20.
Fyvie said: “You just get on with it. I’ve noticed a big difference in terms of working and playing; it’s credit to the boys who have done it for years.
“I was obviously full-time until a couple of years ago and I didn’t realise how tough it could be being part-time. A lot of the boys have bigger commitments with work but play football because they love it. Credit to all the teams in the lower leagues because it is really tough.
“We just want to play games. We’re just glad we’re playing it in a decent league and it’s competitive.”
The 2-2 draw with Partick Thistle on Tuesday night took Cove up to second in League One, with two games left of their split fixtures.
They head to Montrose tonight for the second time in nine days before finishing up against Airdrieonians at home on Saturday.
Fyvie added: “Cove are used to trying to compete for things. There was no difference in terms of our mindset for this year – we knew how good we are but we’re coming up against full-time teams, which is difficult.
“The club is run like a full-time one, which is credit to the owners, the staff and the manager the way he organises everything around it.”
While it is looking like the play-offs for Cove, they are not mathematically out of the title race yet.
Thistle are at home to Falkirk tonight while Hartley’s men are at Links Park.
Fyvie added: “We’ll see where we’re at. We gave everything on Tuesday night and we’ll do the same tonight and on Saturday.
“We obviously need a couple of favours now but in the top five, anyone can beat anyone. We’ll see what happens come end of the day Saturday.
“A few of the boys have played League One before but some of them haven’t. I think that shows how strong the Highland League can be, if you pick the right players.
“The players are more than capable of winning the league. We’ll obviously need favours but it’s probably in Partick’s hand now to lose it.”