Peterhead boss Jim McInally insists they will rise to the challenge of life without ex-captain Rory McAllister.
The striker left the Blue Toon yesterday after eight-and-a-half years to join Cove and after 198 goals McAllister is a major loss to the Buchan outfit.
But Balmoor boss McInally insists they will recover and said: “The show goes on, it’s football. Henrik Larsson at Celtic, Ally McCoist at Rangers, they all get replaced eventually.
“The club carries on and we just need to get on it with it. We thank Rory for his time with us.
“I find it hard to take that we’re losing Rory and it doesn’t sit well with me – but it’s what he wants so that’s all that matters.
“Paul Hartley said it was a statement of intent and as a club I think we now need to make sure we stay in League 1, then next season take up the challenge that they’re going to throw down – it inspires me if nothing else.
“I said at the start of this season they’d win League 2 and I still think that.
“So we need to make sure we stay in our league because right now we’re in a dogfight, but hearing ‘we’ve made a statement of intent’ inspires me.
“I think they flexed their muscles a wee bit and tried to put us in our place.”
Since McInally became Peterhead manager in September 2011 McAllister has been an ever-present and Scotland’s longest-serving boss says his contribution went beyond the pitch.
He added: “Rory is irreplaceable really and not just as a footballer. I’ve been supportive of him in many ways.
“Over the years he’s taken a lot of stick from opposition fans and rumours that he was getting £1,000 a week, which was nonsense, and he had to endure all these shouts of mercenary for years.
“Money has never been Rory’s god, even when we had a team full of Aberdeen boys and we did kids coaching camps during the school holidays or other things, he was the one that would always come and do it.
“He was the one that would step up if we needed somebody to go to an event or a presentation, he was our flag bearer.
“I got criticised for making him captain because sometimes he struggled to keep himself in check on the park.
“But he was always there when we needed him on and off the pitch – and we were there for him also.
“When I spoke to him about the interest I wasn’t just dealing with Rory the footballer it was dealing with Rory the celebrity almost because of what a figure he was at the club.
“When we’ve done the kids coaching camps 90% of the kids, maybe more, don’t come and watch Peterhead – but they all know Rory McAllister and they all wanted to play with him.
“Aside from the football that’s a massive loss and I can’t speak highly enough of Rory and that’s why I’m gutted.”