As the manager who oversaw five Highland League title successes, John Sheran is not surprised by Cove Rangers’ winning habit.
Their imperious league form, prior to football stopping in March, saw them awarded the League Two title, with the Aberdeen side sitting 13 points clear at the top of the table.
That followed back-to-back Highland League titles, as well as 2016 when Cove had their first crack at the pyramid play-offs.
Sheran took them to league glory in 2008 and 2009 too, with Kevin Tindal the only other man to deliver the championship for the club in 2013.
Sheran said: “The guys are full of confidence and not frightened of anybody, which is the good thing about it.
“We go out and attack everybody and that’s the positive style of play the manager (Paul Hartley) has in place.
“As a group of players, they’re used to that. In the Highland League there was an expectation to win every game, because if you didn’t win then Brora, Fraserburgh or somebody else was going to be on top of you. That brought some pressure and that’s carried on this year.”
Cove are champions but await the final outcome of reconstruction talks to find out what the Scottish football landscape will look like next season.
However the leagues are formatted, Sheran has belief the players can continue rising to the challenges in front of them.
He added: “The players are used to winning. They’re good players so can get the ball down and pass it against anybody.
“But I’m sure they can all improve and, going against better players, you have to improve and get better. I think they’re capable of doing that.
“They probably surprised themselves with how well they’ve done.
“One thing with the Irn-Bru Cup and taking part in the Betfred Cup over the years, you get used to playing teams in the Scottish leagues.
“It gives you confidence that you can go in there and beat them.
“We’ve taken that on this year and while we’ve had a few defeats, we’ve bounced back really well afterwards. At home we’ve been super strong and even when we’ve been pegged back, we’ve been able to find something extra to go and win the game.”
Sheran, now the club’s director of football, reflects fondly on how they got into the SPFL, with a dominant Highland League campaign culminating in play-off wins over East Kilbride and Berwick Rangers.
He said: “We had been building up to it for two or three seasons, improving the squad and trying to get better players in.
“The 2019 group managed to get the job done.
“One defeat in the league is a remarkable achievement and then the play-offs, the guys really stepped up to the plate.”