Paul Hartley expressed his delight at Cove’s 3-0 Betfred Cup win over League One Raith Rovers – before turning his attention to the Aberdeen side’s SPFL bow on Saturday.
Full-time Raith were blown away at the Balmoral Stadium as Cove ended their Group D campaign on four points. The same venue will play host to the opening weekend League Two visit of Edinburgh City.
Hartley, having watched the promoted Highland champions win a competitive match for the first time since taking over as manager – after a draw with Championship Dundee and close-run 3-2 loss to Inverness Caley, said: “It was a good result. Our play deserved that and we could’ve scored more goals.
“We had some really good, clear-cut opportunities and the new lads have scored, so they’ve settled in well.
“It’s really pleasing how the day’s work went.”
Jamie Masson scored first, before Dundee United and Aberdeen loanees Declan Glass and Chris Antoniazzi – making his debut – netted their first Cove goals.
Glass was playing for the club for just the second time after featuring at the Caledonian Stadium, where he set up two.
Hartley added: “Glass showed his quality in midweek and then on Saturday showed his quality throughout the game and with his goal.
“I’m really pleased they’ve settled in quickly, but that’s down to the other lads in the dressing room.
“We’ve got a really good spirit here.
“The preparations have been tough in the four (Betfred Cup) games. They’ve been really tough games for us, but I feel we should’ve had more points.
“The focus now is the first match of the league season.”
Cove’s dominance over Raith is made more impressive as skipper Mitch Megginson, Connor Scully, Darryn Kelly and Jamie Redman were all absent.
Talisman Megginson, who was sent off against Caley, will be back for their big SPFL entrance, and Hartley confirmed Scully and Redman should return to training after injury this week.
Hartley thinks Cove’s performance against Edinburgh needs to be fitting of the occasion and said: “There’s a little bit of history for our club because we’re into the league for the first time.
“Hopefully it’s a great day, but it’ll only be a great day if we get a good result.
“I’m sure the supporters, board and chairman will enjoy it.
“For me as the manager I want the team to perform and set down a marker early in the season.
“But we know we’re up against a really tough Edinburgh side.”
For Raith, keeper David McGurn did brilliantly early on to turn away Martin Scott’s headed flick before catching a Daniel Higgins effort on 22 minutes.
Cove were again denied by McGurn moments later.
After Antoniazzi had turned two Raith defenders, he fed Scott, who returned the favour, only for the young talent to see a close-range effort saved.
The home side got their goal on the stroke of half-time. Glass put the ball round Kyle Benedictus on halfway and, after driving on, shifted the ball to Masson to lash home into the far corner.
Cove’s second came on 52 minutes. Daniel Park – who’d moved up front – saw an effort from close-range blocked, before Antoniazzi hammered home his debut goal.
The introduction of Raith’s Joao Victoria saw Cove hemmed in a bit more. Lewis Allan had the best chance of this spell, but Stuart McKenzie saved a close-range strike well.
On 63 minutes, Cove substitute Jordon Brown beat the offside trap and should have scored from six yards. However, he may have thought he was offside before hitting a timid shot.
Moments later Glass opened his account for Cove, crashing a spectacular shot off McGurn’s left post and in – giving the goalie no chance.