Rory McAllister reckons Cove Rangers should be targeting the League One title next season after missing out on promotion.
McAllister’s goal against Airdrieonians on Tuesday night looked to have sent Cove to the play-off final, only for an even later leveller to send the game into extra-time, where the Diamonds triumphed.
Cove finished the season in third, four points behind title-winners Partick Thistle, who did not beat the Aberdeen side in three meetings.
The 4-3 aggregate defeat ended Cove’s season and sends Ian Murray’s side on to face Morton for a place in the Championship.
While there is disappointment of how the campaign finished, McAllister believes Cove should be targeting the ultimate goal next season.
He said: “You get setbacks in football; you’ve got to reload, go again and hopefully kick on next season and go and win the league.
“Does it have to be the aim? I think so. We’re good enough to do it. I imagine we’ll strengthen again and make our chances better.
“We’ve got a good team just now – add a few extra and we can push for the league hopefully.”
McAllister came to Cove in January 2020 from Peterhead and helped them win the League Two title last season.
In this shortened campaign, he contributed nine goals in 27 games in all competitions.
While the emotions of their Tuesday night defeat may take some time to settle, McAllister hopes they can benefit from the experience in the future.
He added: “It’ll set us in good stead for next season. We’ve got some experience now in a tough league and we’ve now got to reload and go again.
“It’s been a tough month or so with a lot of games. We’ve come up a bit short, but the boys have been brilliant. It’s a difficult one to take.”
McAllister’s goal in stoppage-time sparked wild celebrations on and off the field for those of a Cove persuasion, only for them to be cut short by Jack McKay’s last-ditch leveller.
He added: “It’s the emotions of football, isn’t it? One minute you’re high, the next you’re low. It’s crazy but it’ll be a sore one for a few days for people at the club.
“We’ve put a lot of effort into the last few years and got to good places. To lose like that hurts.”