Cove Rangers have had this week free of fixtures to gear up for their debut in the League One play-offs this weekend.
Their performances this season have seen them emerge as one of the most consistent teams in the division, vying for the prize positions with full-time opponents Partick Thistle, Falkirk, and Airdrieonians.
Thistle have rode off into the sunset as League One champions and have already secured their place in the Championship.
However, for Cove, Airdrieonians and Montrose, the chance is still there to secure ascension to the second-tier. For Morton, the team who finished second-bottom of the Championship, they need to emerge victorious from the four games to preserve their place in the league.
We take a look at the teams that could lie in Cove’s path.
Their 2-0 win at the Balmoral Stadium last weekend kept alive their hopes of finishing second in the table and victory over Falkirk on Tuesday earned them a return to the north-east in two days’ time for the first leg of the semi-final.
Following a run of three successive defeats in March, the Diamonds have been beaten just once in their last nine games, with seven wins along the way.
The club have not been in the Championship since the 2012-13 season, when it was known as the First Division and they were still called Airdrie United. Prior to this campaign, they had been perennially a mid-table team in League One.
Cove forward Leighton McIntosh is a former Airdrieonians player, having led the scoring charts in the 2018-19 season, while the meetings between the two sides in 2020-21 have been split between a win apiece and a draw.
Ian Murray’s side may well prove to be Cove’s trickiest opponents in the play-offs.
Montrose surged into the play-offs at the very last moment, beating Partick Thistle 3-2 on Tuesday night to book their place against Morton.
Falkirk’s implosion – they were six points clear at the top after 13 games – paved a way for the Angus side to make the play-offs, but they have delivered a number of creditable performances along the way.
Stewart Petrie’s side have beaten Cove twice this season, once each at home and away, before a 2-0 win at Links Park last week secured the Aberdeen side’s play-off spot.
They will certainly be no pushover for a Morton side short on confidence and have the first leg of the semi-final on home soil on Saturday.
Matters at Cappielow have seldom looked promising over the last five months and to some, the fact they finished in the relegation play-off position will have come as little surprise.
They have won just twice December 19 and have drawn their last five games, with scoring goals their biggest problem.
In their last two Championship fixtures, they dropped points against Alloa Athletic and Arbroath, where even one win would have saved them from the tension of a play-off.
It has been a tumultuous season at Cappielow, with David Hopkin leaving his post as manager in December. Anton McElhone, the assistant manager, was left in charge of the team for three months, until Gus MacPherson, who had been St Mirren’s technical director until September last year and had not managed since 2018, was brought in during March.
Bizarrely, they have not named a substitute goalkeeper on the bench in the league all season and will have skipper Sean McGinty missing through suspension after his sending off against Arbroath.
Given their Championship status is at stake, they probably face the greatest pressure to emerge victorious from the play-offs.