Paul Hartley is getting plenty of practice at enjoying the good times, given the ever-improving fortunes of Cove Rangers.
Hartley, who picked up December’s League One manager of the month award for the second time in a row, learned a long time ago of football’s fleeting and fickle nature.
These awards only come with consistency on the park. Cove are unbeaten in 14 games and have won their last eight; a seven-point lead at the top of the division does not flatter them.
It would be hard not to feel a spring in your step coming to work when the positives seem to keep on coming.
“We’ve just got to keep the hard work up,” said Hartley. “We concentrate on the football and everything else is a little bonus.
“We’ve been really consistent since the East Fife game; you’re talking nearly three months with the work we’ve put in. We’re all working together, it’s not down to individuals.
“It’s a strong run we’re on and there’s a feel-good factor on these runs. You don’t want them to end.
“The spirit in the camp is terrific and I’ve been in the game long enough to know when things aren’t going so well, there’s a bit of a lull.
“But you enjoy the good times and enjoy winning. There’s a real togetherness about his group and they like winning. If you’re not enjoying there’s something wrong with you.
“Is it my most enjoyable spell in management? The winning is good but my attitude is you know things can turn quickly. I’m enjoying where we are just now and working with this group.
“Don’t take your eye off it, that’s what I’ll say to them. Put the foot to the floor and keep emptying the tank every week.”
Their performances have also been recognised in the player awards. On the back of Rory McAllister and Mitch Megginson winning it, this week Blair Yule received the monthly prize.
Hartley is pleased to see one of his most dependable players – “a manager’s dream” – recognised for his performances.
Yule is a tireless, selfless player, who has fulfilled several roles with a degree of assurity since Cove’s promotion to the SPFL in 2019.
During their League Two promotion season, he was primarily deployed at right-back. Last season he played more as a right-winger and this campaign has seen the 29-year-old play more centrally in midfield.
“It’s absolutely brilliant. He deserves it for being so consistent,” said Hartley. “He’s a manager’s dream because of his work, he’s never injured, he never moans or complains, he’s versatile and if you have to tell him to play somewhere else, he does it well.
“He’s a very good footballer – he’s a team player and looks after himself. He’s got a good personality and is just a good person to have around the place.”
Saturday’s home game against Montrose may have significant consequences to both side’s aspirations in the league but Hartley and Cove will not dress it up as such.
A win over the Gable Endies, who have been the standard-bearers for consistency in League One in recent years, will take them 10 points clear at the summit with 14 games to go.
“It’s just another game,” added Hartley. “You can dress it up any way you want. It’s just as big a game as last week against Clyde.
“We don’t look too far ahead; we just look to see if we can get another positive result.
“They’ve bolstered their squad with a couple of signings and I expect a tough game.”
Hartley’s first bit of January business was done this week, with striker Ola Adeyemo extending his contract until the end of the season. A decision on the future of loanee Fin Robertson will also be made after the Montrose game.
“It keeps the squad together. Ola’s been a wee bit unfortunate with the form of the team and the players but he has made an impact when he’s come on,” said Hartley. “He’s good to have around the place and is a strong body for us.”