The season is still in its relative infancy but there are promising signs Cove Rangers might be clicking into gear.
In beating Alloa Athletic 3-1, Cove took top spot temporarily in League One, ahead of Queen’s Park facing Montrose on Sunday.
The Aberdeen side have now won three on the bounce and after a slowish start, now appear to be motoring along nicely.
They did not blow 10-man Alloa away but exerted a measure of control over the contest. Rory McAllister was once again the star, grabbing a hat-trick to take his tally to nine in the league this season.
“Things are going well and we’re winning,” said McAllister. “I think we can still play better – we’re not firing yet. Winning when you’re not playing well is good I suppose.
“I’ll take any kind of goals, it doesn’t matter where from. I’ve scored goals like that throughout my career.
“It’s a tough league. If we’re up there at the end of the season in the top two, we’ll have to do well to get there.
“You need to go on a run of six, seven or eight games of winning to be up there challenging after Christmas. Hopefully we can do that over the next few months and put ourselves in a position come the second half of the season.
“I think everybody is back fit now. Masson came on on Saturday and he’s looking better every game.
“Mitch (Megginson) hasn’t scored in a couple of games but he’s getting chances and his goals will soon come back. Once he starts scoring again we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
Saturday’s win was an example of predatory finishing from McAllister, with his first two coming from inside the six-yard box and the third from the penalty spot.
That regular top-scorer and Cove captain Mitch Megginson has not scored in his last five should not be cause for concern, but more of a warning of what this side could be capable of once he rediscovers his scoring touch.
Megginson has joked previously about taking penalties back off McAllister. Five of the nine goals McAllister has to his name have come from 12 yards.
“I’ll have to see what he says,” added McAllister. “I’ve not missed one yet and I don’t think the keeper has gone the same way yet.
“I think Mitch missed his last one and I’ve taken them since. Mitch will get his goals going again and once we’re both scoring we’ll be a hard team to beat.”
Cove got the perfect start to the game, with Mouhamed Niang sent off after 25 seconds by referee Alan Muir for a lunge on Shay Logan, which appeared harsh.
McAllister buried his first from close to the goal-line on 51 minutes, after a pin-point cross from Logan had narrowly evaded Megginson and he was there to head in.
Alloa netted a scrappy equaliser after Stefan Scougall’s corner went in off Steven Boyd but Cove responded immediately, with a driving run by Jamie Masson teeing up McAllister to crash in from two yards.
He was given the chance to net his third as stoppage-time approached, after defender Craig Howie upended Megginson. The 34-year-old duly obliged, capping a good afternoon’s work.
“The sending off the killed the game a bit,” he added. “They sat in more and it wasn’t such an open game. But as the game went on I think they maybe tired and we deserved to win in the end.
“We dominated the ball and had the better chances, but they almost scored before we got the second. If that goes in that’s a different story.”