Former Cove Rangers striker Jamie Watt hopes his old club aren’t adversely affected by possible league reconstruction.
Hearts chair Ann Budge – who has been leading the SPFL’s reconstruction taskforce – has submitted her plan for a rejig of the current set-up, suggesting a switch to three leagues of 14.
This would mean – despite winning League Two – Cove would remain in the bottom tier of the SPFL, while Hearts and Partick Thistle would be saved from relegation from the Premiership and Championship respectively and Inverness, who were second in the second tier, would gain promotion.
Watt helped Cove win the Highland League title in 2008, 2009 and 2016 over two spells with the club and hopes they aren’t given a raw deal as a result of reconstruction.
The Banks o’ Dee co-manager said: “If the leagues are reconstructed and Cove are still in the bottom league it would be very harsh and a gutting scenario for them.
“It would feel like one step back really having taken two forward. If that was to happen then I’m sure Cove would bounce back and be in the hunt to win the title again.
“There’s a lot going on and a lot of things up in the air when it comes to reconstruction.
“If it did change to three leagues then I’m sure Cove would be gutted, there may not be an option to suit every club and it’s not easy when every club has their own interests and views.
“I would love to see Cove go up so hopefully that can happen, despite the reconstruction talk.”
Cove won promotion through the pyramid play-offs last year at their third attempt.
Watt’s last game for the Granite City side was in their first crack at the play-offs in 2016 when they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Edinburgh City.
He added: “I was involved in the first go at the play-offs and my last game was against Edinburgh.
“We were frustrated with how things panned out, Edinburgh were a solid team and maybe we took things for granted going into the first game.
“We were 3-0 down at half-time and then they shut up shop and then we drew 1-1 at Meadowbank.
“I was in Turkey for the first game because I’d booked a holiday not realising we’d be in the play-offs.
“So I missed the first game, came back for the second leg and came off the bench to score in my last game for Cove.
“That tie got away from us in the first leg when Edinburgh did a job on us, they tried again two years later and were so close against Cowdenbeath.
“I thought Cove would go up that time, but it was inevitable they would get there and they managed it last year against Berwick and it’s not surprising how they’ve kicked on since.
“The club has always had that ambition to go further, I’m not surprised by what they did this season because they’ve signed good players and also kept a core of boys that helped get them up.
“Having gone from strength to strength, I can see them competing well in League One next season.”