Jamie Masson believes Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City are bringing out the best in each other on as they go toe-to-toe at the top of League Two.
Heading into the new year just two points separate the Granite City side and the capital outfit at the summit of Scotland’s fourth tier.
Cove and Edinburgh have set an unrelenting pace in the first half of campaign, with third-placed Cowdenbeath being 12 points back.
Both sides are unbeaten at home and have lost only three times on their travels.
Cove made it nine wins from nine at the Balmoral Stadium with Saturday’s 2-0 success against Elgin City, while Edinburgh won at home to Cowdenbeath by the same score.
Masson believes the two clubs are driving each other on and the former Aberdeen midfielder said: “We’ve done really well at home this season and it’s important we maintain that.
“Edinburgh City keep winning as well so it’s important we keep picking up three points every week, especially playing at home.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks they might slip up and we can increase the gap.
“But all we can concentrate on is trying to win our game every week and that’s what we’ll carry on trying to do.
“It’s good to be involved in something like this because both teams are looking at each other every week and it’s pushing us both on.
“It’s hard being the league leaders because every team you play is desperate to beat you.
“But hopefully we can continue our form going forward.”
Cove kick off the third quarter of the season against Brechin City at Glebe Park on Saturday.
With the aim at the start of the season simply survival Masson hopes they can continue to keep picking up the wins to maintain their lofty position.
The 26-year-old added: “At the start of the season we would’ve have taken this position at the start of the position.
“We’re heading into the third quarter and it starts with a tricky game against Brechin.
“But we need to take confidence from the games we’ve won and try to keep it going.”
When reflecting on 2019 Masson regards it as the best of his career. He helped Cove win the Highland League and Highland League Cup in the first half of the year.
But the crowning glory was helping Cove to promotion in the pyramid play-offs in May.
The man who signed from Formartine United in 2017 said: “There’s a proper spirit and bond between all the lads which makes it better when we’re going onto the pitch.
“It was great to get the club into the SPFL. When I signed for the club it was something that was spoken about.
“We missed an opportunity, but now we’re here and we’ve shown how good we are.”