Aberdeen’s Paul Coutts says it would have been “an absolute disgrace” if former club Cove Rangers were denied promotion to League One.
It was announced yesterday the League Two champions would play in the higher tier when the lower leagues return in October, after demoted sides Hearts and Partick Thistle failed in their attempt to have relegation and promotion from last term cancelled.
Speaking on this week’s Northern Goal podcast, Fleetwood Town midfielder Coutts, 32 – who won the Highland League title with Cove in 2008 before embarking on a successful full-time career in England – said: “I didn’t think it was in doubt really, even with the court case going on and stuff.
“They’d earned it and it would have been an absolute disgrace if they had won the title and not go the promotion they deserved.
“I was glad to see it and fair play to them.
“The commitment (chairman) Keith Moorhouse has shown to the club, not just financially, but through everything else he does for them – it’s great to see them reaping some success.”
Coutts is backing Cove to push for a third straight promotion next term, adding: “I’m sure they will be, knowing the people there. They will want another title push.
“But I think it’ll be a bit tougher than last season.
“I backed them last season to go and get promoted again.
“I don’t think the long Covid lay-off will have done them any good, because they had momentum from back-to-back titles.
“They would’ve wanted to have kept rolling on, but there’s nothing you can do about that.
“I’m sure they will be there or there about and will definitely be competitive.”
North-east native Coutts reached the English League One play-offs with Fleetwood last season, exiting at the semi-final stage to eventual winners Wycombe.
He is currently back in the north-east, but will return to training ahead of the new campaign on August 3.
Like Cove, Fleetwood, bossed by Joey Barton, will be intent on competing at the top end of the table.
Coutts said: “It’s going to be a difficult league with the teams coming out of the Championship again.
“A lot of big hitters didn’t get up – Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich are still in there, then you’ve got Charlton, Hull and Wigan who’ve come down.
“But we’re ambitious and nobody likes coming to Fleetwood to play.
“We had a great home record last year, so hopefully we can do much the same this year.”
On this week’s podcast, Coutts talks through a playing career which has also seen him recover from horror injuries, mark Argentine superstar Carlos Tevez in his first game for Peterborough, earn promotion to the Premier League under Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder and much more.
Northern Goal is available on your favourite podcast app.