For Cove Rangers winning has become a regular habit. When it is not coming with ease, people want to know why.
Perspective may get lost when a club, which has won league titles in most seasons since 2012, is not topping the table once more.
Cove have invested heavily in their team, with Shay Logan, Ross Draper, Iain Vigurs and Kyle Gourlay all dropping down from the Premiership and full-time football to join. Perhaps that is where the expectation comes from.
But if you look across League One, no-one is galloping ahead of the pack. There are only six games gone and four points separate the top six clubs. Cove are among that group; 10 teams striving to get out of Scotland’s most competitive division.
“If you look at the league, it’s pretty much the same for everyone: win a couple, draw a couple, lose a couple. We’re not any different to anyone else,” said manager Paul Hartley.
“It’s hard to win four or five games on the bounce. We’ve not got any divine right to win a game.
“Look where we’ve come from over the last couple of years. We were probably two minutes away from the play-off final to get into the Championship.
“People have to got to realise where we are as a club and how hard we’re having to work. Trying to get players in is hard because of where we’re situated.
“The club is progressing nicely and I don’t know what people are expecting (of us) sometimes.”
The Aberdeen side were the first side to win promotion from the Highland League in 2019, winning promotion against Berwick Rangers in the play-off.
They were crowned League Two champions in their first SPFL season, one which was ended prematurely by Covid-19. They finished third in League One last season, behind two full-time clubs, and lost to one of them, Airdrieonians, in extra-time in the play-offs.
One of the key tenets of their progress has been the form of Mitch Megginson and, latterly, Rory McAllister.
The pair have combined for nine goals in League One so far, with McAllister scoring five of them and finding the net in each of his last four games.
“Rory’s ability has never been in doubt – he’s been excellent for us,” added Hartley. “His work-rate and his link-up play are terrific.
“He’s a team player and works hard in training. Age is only a number. He’s looking good and working hard and that all comes from the training ground.
“Mitch is a goalscorer. They link up well together and have got a good understanding. But it comes from the training pitch; we don’t just turn up and play, we work on how we’re going to play and how to hurt the opposition.”
McAllister returns to his former club Peterhead this afternoon with Cove, with Hartley missing Blair Yule (suspension), Ross Draper (bone bruising) and Jevan Anderson (ankle).
There is no timescale for Draper’s return to the side, however Anderson appears to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from the injury picked up against Clyde.
The two north-east rivals met earlier in the season in the Premier Sports Cup, where Cove were far from their best.
Hartley added: “We know they’re a good team and we weren’t at it that day. We’re away from home and expect a difficult game.
“It’s a game we look forward to and between the players, supporters and the two clubs, there’s a good rivalry.
“We have to make sure we’re at our best, match them all over the pitch and win the individual battles.”