Cove Rangers striker Paul McManus says last season’s Pyramid play-off final heartache at Cowdenbeath is not fuelling a revenge mission for the Highland League champions as they return to the scene of their defeat today.
The Blue Brazil maintained their place in League 2 in a controversial 3-2 win in May as Cove ended the match with eight men and a sense of injustice at the winning goal being allowed to stand following a foul on goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie.
The two sides meet again on Betfred Cup duty this afternoon but McManus says the events of last season will not figure in his side’s thoughts today.
He said: “It will be a tough game after what happened in the play-offs but we’re looking forward to it. There’s no pressure on us as we’re a Highland League team but we’ve got good players and Hearts respected that. We showed why playing around them and our movement off the ball was good.
“What happened in the play-off final is done and dusted now. It hurt a lot at the time but that’s last season and that book is shut as far as we’re concerned and we’re looking forward to the game.
“We’re looking to go to Cowdenbeath and play football and I’m sure they are saying the same.
“After two really tough games against full-time teams in Caley Thistle and Hearts we’re looking forward to the chance to play against a team nearer our own level in Cowdenbeath.”
The Highland League champions are pointless after defeats by Caley Jags and the Jambos but they pushed Craig Levein’s Hearts all the way at Balmoral Stadium on Wednesday before losing 2-1.
McManus believes his side’s performance augurs well for the new campaign as Cove focus on retaining their title and earning another crack at promotion.
He said: “You could call Wednesday a good shift but I thought we worked well in the second half especially. We let Hearts get in the wide areas too easily with their two wingers on the touchline but once we pulled a goal back we looked the better team.
“A little bit more luck in the final third and we could have got something from the game. I had a goal chalked off for offside and I don’t think I was, but it was a good fitness exercise for us and we worked hard.
“They are a full-time club and should have strolled the game but we pushed them all the way.”
Cove boss John Sheran, who returns to the dugout at Central Park today after missing the two Betfred Cup ties due to suspension following his dismissal in the play-off final, is eager to draw a line under the last game between the clubs.
He said: “Everyone gets hung up on what happened before but this is a new season and a new set-up and this game and next Saturday is our chance to pick up some points and ensure we don’t finish bottom of the group.”