The margin for error for all SPFL clubs below the Premiership is smaller this year. Cove Rangers are no different.
With the seasons in the Championship, League One and League Two reduced by nine games to 27, dropped points are going to be harder to recover in 2020-21.
That is not lost on Cove’s Harry Milne. So far, the Aberdeen outfit have enjoyed a 100 per cent start to life in League One, sitting top with 12 points from four games.
However, with a trip to Falkirk tomorrow, they take on one of the full-time teams with designs on getting promoted. Even at this early stage of the campaign, it is a fixture packed with importance.
Milne said: “Last year we took stock after we’d played everyone once, looked at what we could improve on. If we’d made a mistake in that first period, generally we didn’t make it again.
“The games that come to mind are down at Albion Rovers, where we’d made it difficult for ourselves. Once we’ve taken stock against everyone, having played them once, I’m sure it’ll be similar and we’ll break it down into blocks of nine.
“There’s no real time for slacking. You can’t be off it for any period of time. Every team in this league can give you a good game. It is a bit more difficult away from home, as it is for everyone.
“I’m not sure anyone likes coming up to us. It’s a pitch we’re used to, it’s familiar territory. You’re a bit more comfortable playing at home.
“But with the squad we’ve got, we’ve got quality all over the pitch and a great attitude. We feel confident we can go anywhere to pick up points and that’s what we’ll be looking to do on Saturday.”
Falkirk were close to getting out of League One last season when it was curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, when the proposal to end the season passed, it was Raith Rovers who went up as champions and the Bairns missed out.
They are one of three full-time teams in the division, with Airdrieonians and Partick Thistle – who Cove beat 1-0 last month – all hoping to challenge at the top.
Milne said: “We knew they could be there or there abouts at the end of the season and it’s one of the games at the start that you want to be involved in.
“There’s potential similarities between this and the Partick game. They’re both quality teams. But they’re different teams with different tactics. I expect it to be just as tough.
“There’s always pressure on each game to pick up three points – that’s how you move up the table. Thankfully we’ve won our first four and got maximum points. The results two weeks ago went our way which meant we’ve been able to create a four-point gap.
“We’ll be looking to go down there and get a result. There’s the same pressure there is every week: to pick up points. With it being a short format this year, it’s important to pick up points in the big games and this is certainly one of them.”