Cove Rangers loanee Connor Smith does not have to look far for motivation in his football career.
Smith, who is on loan at the League One side from Hearts, is the brother of forward Callum Smith, who has been featuring regularly in the Premiership this season for Hamilton Accies.
While the brothers came through different youth systems – Connor at Hearts and Callum at Dunfermline – the competition has always been present as the two have progressed.
Smith said: “He’s been playing most weeks now. My brother and I have always had a rivalry, to see who can do better.
“We’d always come home after games, talk and see who’s done better. It’s good to keep the rivalry going and push each other.
— Connor Smith (@connorsmith_88) January 7, 2021
“If I do well this season and Hearts get promoted, who knows what can happen next season.”
Smith junior has made four appearances for Hearts’ first-team, as well as a loan spell last season at his native Cowdenbeath.
He spent the first half of this season at Dick Campbell’s Arbroath, before returning in January and subsequently joining Cove.
The 18-year-old was on the bench for the Scottish Cup win over Alloa Athletic, which turned out to be Cove’s last game before the lower-league shutdown.
Smith added: “I was at Arbroath – I left there and signed with Cove. I was in the squad against Alloa, which was a good game, but then football got stopped in League One and League Two.
“It was frustrating because Arbroath were still playing in the Championship and I’d just left them. I then couldn’t play at Cove, because there was no games. It was so frustrating.
“I’m buzzing to be involved again. It was good to be on for a bit on Saturday and hopefully I can be starting soon.”
Alongside him at the Balmoral Stadium is another Hearts loanee in Cammy Logan, who came through the ranks at Riccarton with Smith and made his first Cove start against Partick Thistle a week ago.
Cove take on East Fife today sitting second in the table. Smith is optimistic about their chances of making the end to the season a memorable one.
He said: “Hopefully we can get promoted. I think we’re more than capable of doing it, definitely.
“I was shocked with the standard – I didn’t expect it to be that high. In training and games, they are very good players.
“The training standard is very good and it’s perfect for you. That comes from the manager, with the experience he’s got.”