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Cove Rangers’ core stability key to rise up the SPFL, according to League One leaders’ Blair Yule

Cove Rangers midfielder Blair Yule.
Cove Rangers midfielder Blair Yule.

Cove Rangers might still technically be the new boys on the block in the SPFL.

But they have players in their squad who have been around it enough to know what makes a successful side.

The spine of Cove’s Highland League title-winning sides is still in place, with Stuart McKenzie, Harry Milne, Scott Ross, Ryan Strachan, Blair Yule, Connor Scully, Mitch Megginson and Jamie Masson all still regulars in the starting 11.

Even with the step up of two divisions since their initial promotion last year and the sprinkling of some new additions, the core of their success is still present.

“That’s been really important,” said Yule, who has been an ever-present bar one season at Arbroath. “From when we were in the Highland League, the spine of the team is still there. Everyone knows how each other works.

 

“The new guys have come in and they’re good guys but having that consistency, it definitely helps the club as well.

“It’s good to have that experience across the board. It’s definitely helped so far and will help as the season goes on; we’ve made a good start but it is just a start. We need to be on top of our game for so much more than just three games.

“Having finished this league well, in play-off positions, before, that will hopefully bode well as the season goes on.”

Yule has returned to his more natural central-midfield role this season, after spending the majority of the 2019-20 campaign at right-back.

Moving Scott Ross from centre-half to full-back has pushed Yule further forward and, in the absence of Fraser Fyvie through injury, he has rekindled a strong partnership with Connor Scully in the middle of the park.

Yule said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. I enjoy playing wherever but I’ve played predominantly in central midfield in the last five seasons or so, so it’s nice to be back in there.

Blair Yule in action against Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet.

“Connor has been great since he’s played in the middle of the park. He’s so good on the ball and so good defensively – he’s really got everything a centre-mid needs. He makes it quite easy for me to play alongside him.

“He’s really matured as a player. The Highland League is a good league – I’ve always thought there wasn’t much difference between the Highland League and lower Scottish leagues. We’ve stepped it up a bit and done the same again this year.

“In terms of Connor, he’s really improved his game, dealing with pressing from the other team and being more calm on the ball.”

Victory against Forfar tomorrow would give Cove their 17th consecutive league win at the Balmoral Stadium. They have yet to drop a point at home since joining the SPFL and have conceded just eight goals.

“It’s about consistency,” added Yule. “Home form is going to be important for all teams, not just Cove, but if we can keep our home form as it is and do what we do at home in away games, I think we’ll be alright.

“At home it’s a massive advantage for us. The pitch is nice and wide and it suits how we play. But I don’t think we’ll change how we play against any side. We’ve been reasonably successful with it.”

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