Aberdeen youngster Chris Antoniazzi couldn’t have asked for a more convenient place to go on loan than Cove Rangers.
Antoniazzi, 19, made his debut for the SPFL’s newest club at the weekend, scoring at the Balmoral in a 3-0 League Cup win over Raith Rovers – Cove’s final outing before their League Two bow at home to Edinburgh City on Saturday.
The attacker will be with Paul Hartley’s team until January and says he jumped at the chance to join the promoted Highland League champions.
Dons boss Derek McInnes was also all for the idea due to Cove’s ambition.
Antoniazzi said: “Aberdeen said go play, go get goals and assists.
“But more importantly, go learn the game.
“I’m still young and learning my trade. I just need to play as much as I can.
“Derek McInnes said it’ll be great to come here as they have such a great winning mentality here and they’re a club that wants to do more.
“They’re not going to stand still and I can tell that just from my first week.”
Granite City resident Antoniazzi – who made his Aberdeen debut in Dubai against FC Bunyodkor two seasons ago – spent last term on loan at League One Montrose, helping them to the play-offs.
However, the former Celtic academy player will have a lot less travelling for training and home games while at Cove.
He said: “It’s only a 10-minute drive from my house!
“I was at Montrose last year and had to go down to Perth on a Thursday night.
“It’s much easier from a personal point of view.”
Before his debut against Raith – where Cove ensured they would finish their Betfred Cup group D campaign with four points after other impressive results against Championship Dundee (0-0 draw) and Inverness Caley Thistle (3-2 loss) – Antoniazzi had only trained once with his new team-mates.
Still, he was struck by Cove’s facilities and ways of working.
He said: “I was training on Thursday and blown away with how professional it was.
“Some League Two teams are just existing, but Cove have a plan to work to – everything is so professional with the gaffer coming in.”
On the win against the full-time Kirkcaldy outfit, who should be one of the frontrunners for the League One title this term, Antoniazzi added: “I was delighted with the win and clean sheet.
“I’m delighted with the goal on my debut, but more importantly as a team we got the win.
“We probably should have had a few more, but we’re still building up to Saturday.
“We created lots of chances, but the clean sheet is obviously what the gaffer would like and we gave him that.”
Cove had three different scorers against Raith, with ex-Don Jamie Masson and Dundee United loanee Declan Glass netting either side of Antoniazzi.
With talismanic striker and skipper Mitch Megginson – who was suspended – still to come back into the side, as well as Connor Scully, Jamie Redman and Darryn Kelly, who missed out through injury and other reasons, confidence is high at the Balmoral.
New boss Hartley is also keen to secure more signings before the weekend.
Some bookies have made Cove the favourites to secure back-to-back promotions, and Antoniazzi thinks the belief is certainly there in the squad.
He said: “They’ve just been promoted from the Highland League and some people might doubt us, but we’ve got the belief in ourselves.
“We’ve got the squad to do something this year.
As well as helping Cove to push on once more, Antoniazzi also has personal ambitions for his spell with the club.
Reflecting back on his time with Montrose, he said: “I’d like to get a lot more goals and assists than last year.
“I had some good games, but I wasn’t getting on the scoresheet as much as I would like.”