Fresh ideas was what Rory McAllister needed.
After eight years at Peterhead, in which he had plundered dozens of goals and become one of the SPFL’s most lethal strikers, the time had come for new horizons.
McAllister swapped the Blue Toon for neighbours and SPFL new-boys Cove Rangers last month, penning a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Balmoral Stadium. He admits to have been swept up by the ambition of the club and something as simple as training together twice a week had its appeals.
“We trained together once a week (at Peterhead) but that was in Forfar,” said McAllister. “Then me and Jason Brown were training with other teams, which wasn’t great. Peterhead had just changed their training to Dundee, which would have been worse in terms of travelling.
“Cove is a very ambitious club and something I wanted to be part of. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it’s been easy to settle in.
“Everything with the manager here is done down to detail and it’s fresh ideas, which is what I wanted. It’s a totally different look to how the game should be played, how you train and how people look after themselves. That’s what I needed.”
Cove are in a similar position to what Peterhead were last season, when they were vying for promotion from League 2. Paul Hartley’s side are six points clear at the top of the division, ahead of a trip to Elgin City this afternoon. They face nearest challengers Edinburgh City at the Balmoral Stadium next week.
“You need to keep knocking out results, week in week out,” added McAllister. “That becomes more difficult when it comes down to the crunch. You’ve just got to take each game as it comes and make sure you win on a Saturday, then do the same the Saturday after. The league will then take care of itself.”
McAllister scored 198 goals during his time at Balmoor, winning two league titles in the process but also turning down the opportunity to go back into full-time football. The 32-year-old started his professional career at Caley Thistle before dropping down the divisions, first with Brechin City and then Peterhead where his scoring exploits attracted attention.
He comes up against a former colleague today in Shane Sutherland, who will make the step back to the professional game in the summer when he rejoins Inverness from Elgin. The two played together in two separate spells at Peterhead, most recently last season before Sutherland returned to Elgin.
“It’s something Shane’s always wanted to do and fair play to him,” said McAllister, who turned down Dundee United and St Mirren during his time with Peterhead. “It wasn’t great for him at Peterhead last season but he’s gone back to Elgin and had a good season.”
Sutherland has 15 goals so far this season in League 2, sandwiched between Cove pair Mitch Megginson (18) and Jamie Masson (11). McAllister’s tally stands at four in league action, something he is keen to improve.
“I want to score goals but at the end of the day, in six of the last seven goals I’ve played some sort of role in,” he added. “I’ve been scoring since I was a young lad but my view of it has changed. It’s more about the team now and hopefully they can go and win the league.”