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Cove Rangers and Connor Scully look to keep thriving on big moments for cup double-header

Cove Rangers midfielder Connor Scully in action against Queen's Park
Cove Rangers and Queen's Park have drawn twice at Balmoral Stadium this season.

It was not too long ago three divisions separated Cove Rangers and Queen of the South from one another.

When the two meet at the Balmoral Stadium on Saturday in the Scottish Cup, they will do so with the margin between the sides eradicated to one solitary league position.

Queens, enduring a difficult first half of the season, sit bottom of the Championship. Cove are top of League One and chasing promotion to the second tier.

For midfielder Connor Scully, the fact the two meet on near-level playing field now is testament to the strides Cove have made in recent years.

“It’s surreal when you think about it,” he said. “If you told me that four or five years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. It goes down to the lads and the gaffer and the amount of work they put in.

“We can look at ourselves as a top side now. I think it’s a great testament to everyone at Cove.”

Facing the Doonhamers is the first of a pivotal cup double-header for Cove, both of which take place on home soil.

Cove Rangers midfielder Connor Scully, who has signed a new deal until 2023.
Cove Rangers midfielder Connor Scully, who has signed a new deal until 2023

After their third-round tie this weekend, they will face Rangers B on Tuesday night with the chance to get into the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup.

“It’s a massive week,” said Scully. “In the Scottish Cup last year we drew Rangers, which was a great experience, and it’s going to be a tough tie this weekend.

“It’ll be a good gauge to see where we’re at, to match with them (Queens). Tuesday is massive as well, being a cup quarter-final. Both of them are at home, so we’re looking forward to them.”

The fact both games are at home gives Cove a huge advantage. Their only defeat at home this season came in their first game against Stirling Albion in the League Cup back in July, with the Balmoral an imperious place to visit under manager Paul Hartley.

“Our home form is good,” added Scully. “We’re good playing at our own place, with a wide open pitch and a good surface. I think we play our best football there.

“I think the last home game we had in the cup was Auchinleck Talbot a few years ago. Most of the times we’ve come in we’ve been away.

“Queen of the South are an established Championship side, so it’s going to take a lot to get one over them.”

They are a side who stick to their principles regardless of who they come up against. Cove have maintained a style of play under Hartley which has carried them from SPFL newboys to Championship hopefuls.

“That’s the main thing about us,” said Scully. “The gaffer has got a way of playing and we believe in that.

“We’ve done it for years now. Even in the Highland League, we played out from the back. It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s always our gameplan.

“We always play football that is good to watch. I don’t think it matters who we play – it’s the way we’ve all been set up and the way we practise in training.”

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