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Cove Rangers have chance to ‘test themselves against the best’ in Ibrox Scottish Cup tie – Paul Hartley

Cove Rangers celebrate Ryan Strachan making it 3-2 in the last minute to send them through.
Cove Rangers celebrate Ryan Strachan making it 3-2 in the last minute to send them through.

Cove hit the jackpot by winning at Alloa as it has delivered a bumper tie against Glasgow Rangers at Ibrox at the end of the month

Ryan Strachan scored a spectacular injury-time free-kick to earn the Aberdeen side a shock win over Peter Grant’s Wasps, with Cove forced to come from behind twice.

It was the first time Cove had defeated a team from the Championship, but striker Rory McAllister, who was also on target, felt they more than merited their place against the Glasgow giants.

He said: “We had the better chances in the game and, although we lost a sloppy goal and Alloa were awarded a soft penalty, it was a good team performance by us.

“We deserved to win. The manager had prepared us well and laid out the plans for the best way to beat Alloa and it worked.

“Alloa defended deep for much of the match, but we got the result and we move into the next round.

“Hopefully it will be another opportunity to show what we are capable of.”

Cove Rangers’ Rory McAllister scores to make it 2-2.

Cove boss Paul Hartley praised his side for their perseverance.

He said: “We deserved what we got and I am delighted for the team.

“We knew that we would have a tight match, but the players believed in themselves and we fought for the result.

“As the game went on, we did not change our style of play.

“When we lost the second goal, we continued to play and the goals from Rory McAllister and Ryan Strachan were enough to win the match.”

Cove Rangerss celebrate Ryan Strachan’s late winner.

The Cove manager added: “The players followed the plan that we had worked in training, and that got us the victory in the tie.”

Hartley believes other teams in the competition will take notice of Cove’s impressive result – especially Rangers.

He said: “Alloa are a good passing team and we felt if we could cope with their threat we could hurt them in the final third.

“It’s a good scalp for us. I know they’re near the bottom of the Championship so for us to beat them shows a lot about our team.

“It shows Cove can compete.

“I thought we were terrific. We dominated the game from start to finish and we’re pleased to be in the hat for the next round.

“It was an outstanding strike from Ryan. We deserved that.”

Only downside of Ibrox trip is fans won’t be there – Cove boss Hartley

There is disappointment that Cove fans will not be able to make the trip to Ibrox, but manager Paul Hartley believes the historic first meeting of the sides will still be a memorable occasion.

He said: “It’s a brilliant draw, we wanted a big, glamour tie.

“Going to Ibrox is exciting for all of those people at the club, especially the chairman, who have worked for many years to get us to where we are now.

“It’s also great for the Cove players who haven’t had the opportunity to play at Ibrox before.

“The only downside is there will be no fans there to watch it.

“It’s obviously a huge challenge too because Rangers are the country’s form team at the moment.

“It’s one we are looking forward to though because you want to test yourself against the best.”

Cove Rangers to face Rangers in Scottish Cup

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