Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley is eyeing up two pivotal games to keep his side at the business end of League One after a 1-0 win over Dumbarton.
Rory McAllister’s disputed goal was the decisive moment between the two sides on Saturday, which keeps Cove second in the table with the split looming.
Hartley’s side face Falkirk at home on Saturday before a trip to Montrose the following Tuesday, with a win enough to secure their place in the top five heading into the climax of the season.
Just three points separate them from the table-topping Bairns, who beat Clyde at the weekend. Partick Thistle and Montrose are four points behind them in the other play-off places.
Hartley said: “Every game is going to be tough. Everyone is trying to get into that top five. We’ve got two games to give ourselves that opportunity. We’ll see where it takes us after that.
“It’ll be two tough games, at home against Falkirk and away to Montrose. We’ve given ourselves a good chance and this is the time of the year where you just need to win.”
McAllister’s fourth league goal of the season was enough for Cove on Saturday, as they made it seven games unbeaten in the league.
The first half was fairly low-key, with Mitch Megginson unable to capitalise on a clever pass by Fraser Fyvie before the midfielder himself shot wide.
Connor Scully also saw a free-kick acrobatically tipped away by Sam Ramsbottom.
The only goal came on 54 minutes when a Scott Ross header was palmed out by Ramsbottom into the penalty area, where McAllister latched on to it. His shot appeared to be blocked on the line by a defender before coming off the inside of the post, with the linesman ruling the ball had crossed the line.
Hartley added: “We controlled the game – we maybe didn’t work the keeper as much as we would have liked, but we deserved the win.
“Rory deserved his goal. Some of his play was excellent. It’s about finding a way of winning at this stage of the season and getting points on the board.”
Stuart McKenzie had little to do, but was called into action to smartly keep out a Connor Duthie shot, while substitute Connor Smith hit the post at the other end for Cove.
Hartley said: “It’s another clean sheet; I think we’ve got the best defensive record in the league. It’s a tough league and it’s sometimes that moment that wins you the game.
“Stuart makes a great save – he didn’t have a lot to do, but when called up he makes the save.”