Ahead of their important Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Formartine United tomorrow night, Cove Rangers cruised through to a Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield meeting with Banks o’ Dee, a mouth watering local derby for later in the season.
This match only went ahead after a mid-morning inspection, with frost making for heavy playing conditions.
Cove were without the injured Eric Watson, Grant Campbell and Sam Burnett, all three players facing late fitness tests for tomorrow’s tie, but manager John Sheran has faith his squad can cope on four fronts in the weeks ahead.
He said:“We made a few line-up changes, some were enforced by injuries, others with Formartine in mind. Nick Gray and Paul McManus came in. Paul took his goal really well.
“The pitch was really difficult to play on, credit to the ground staff for getting the game on.
“We’re happy to be in the final when it comes.
“The games will come thick and fast, none of the excitement has faded despite the original Friday night game against Formartine being postponed.
“The fact we know that whoever wins this game has Falkirk as their next opponents can only add to the excitement.
“There has been nothing between the teams in recent times, we are looking for big players to step up. We now know we will be playing two games a week for the rest of the season but that is why we have a squad of 20 and we will have to make use of them in the coming weeks”
Cove quickly asserted themselves on a surface looking barely playable, Ryan Stott and McManus forcing saves from Kevin Main and in 27 minutes Darren Wood had to race to clear off his goal line to keep out a low netbound Stott attempt.
The opening goal came through McManus firing home through the body of Main. Inside two minutes it was a second as poor attempts at clearances left Harry Milne free to fire a low shot into the corner from 15 yards.
Early in the second half Turriff almost had a lifeline when David Booth saw his effort head towards goal, this time Dean Lawrie getting to the ball in time. Late on, high-profile substitutes Jamie Masson and Mitch Megginson combined for the third, the latter finding the net from close range before lobbing Main for Cove’s fourth in injury time.
Turriff boss Graeme Roy said: “We didn’t deserve anything but if Booth’s chance had gone in it might have changed the game. The real bonus for us was the long-awaited comeback of Neale Davidson after a third leg break.”