When reflecting on the year Cove Rangers have had, “amazing” is the only word John Sheran thinks can do it justice.
In 2019 the Granite City side won the Highland League and Highland League Cup and then achieved their long-held ambition of promotion to the SPFL.
Now with only one game left this year Cove sit at the top of League Two in their maiden campaign.
Sheran was co-manager alongside Graeme Mathieson as the Balmoral Stadium outfit won promotion.
He stepped down as boss in the summer following a heart attack in April and became director of football with Paul Hartley appointed manager.
Reflecting on the year, Sheran said: “The best word to describe the year for Cove would be ‘amazing’.
“As a club we felt we had a squad which could compete in League Two, but the team and the management team have kicked on and we find ourselves at the top.
“It’s been a really fantastic start as we approach the halfway point and everyone is delighted and amazed with where we are.
“We were close to achieving the dream of reaching the SPFL a couple of times before. But to finally get there this year was a brilliant feeling.
“It was a reward for the remarkable effort the club have put in and the players were magnificent throughout last season to make it happen.
“We had only one defeat in the league last season. We played something like 55 games as we won the Aberdeenshire Cup, League Cup and league in the 2018-19 season.
“So it was a special year regardless, but to top it off by winning promotion was remarkable.
“It was a just reward for a lot of people who put in a lot of effort, nobody more so than the players and coaching staff.”
Looking ahead to 2020, Sheran believes Hartley, along with assistant manager Gordon Young and fitness coach Tam Ritchie, will continue to keep Cove pushing at the top of the league.
After beating Queen’s Park 3-1 at Hampden on Saturday, Cove finish 2019 with a home game against Elgin this weekend.
Sheran added: “We’ve got a management team now with lots of Scottish League experience and experience at a higher level.
“That has had an effect on the players that have been there, and there have been some new faces who have come in.
“Whether you’re a new face or an old face, all the players have been really good this season and everyone has stepped up.
“Everything has increased a couple of notches in terms of the standards that are being set both on and off the field.
“It’s nice to see and what topped the year off nicely for me was going to the national stadium to play a competitive game for the first time and we won 3-1.
“We’re a club that over the last five years especially are used to winning things and winning games.
“We want to win every single week and they just have to go forward with that mentality.
“We’re only halfway through the season. We started the season with the ambition of staying in the division.
“Then you think about maybe finishing in the play-offs.
“Now at this point we’re in a good position and we need to try to capitalise on that.
“The winning feeling and winning belief the players and management have will be key.”