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Cove Rangers defender Morgyn Neill putting friendship with Chris Cadden aside in Scottish Cup tie with Hibernian

Cove Rangers defender Morgyn Neill
Cove Rangers defender Morgyn Neill.

Cove Rangers defender Morgyn Neill and Chris Cadden grew up together in the Motherwell academy and may well be at each other’s weddings.

But when Cove head to Easter Road and face Hibernian on Thursday night, all pleasantries will go out of the window.

Neill and Cadden have been close friends on and off the park, but have never faced each other in a competitive fixture.

The Cove defender left ‘Well in 2015, going on to play for Stranraer, Stenhousemuir and Dumbarton, while Cadden remained at Fir Park until 2019 before embarking on a brief stint in America with Columbus Crew.

When the two sides meet in the fourth round on Thursday night, live on BBC Scotland, friendships will be put to one side.

Hibernian midfielder Chris Cadden
Hibernian midfielder Chris Cadden

Neill said: “Chris is my best pal and this is the first time we’ll come up against each other. We came through at Motherwell and I’ve already told him to watch himself!

“As soon as it hit Monday, that was me not talking to him. He better not try or he’ll be getting patched.

“My dad was best pals with his uncle and his dad was our coach at Motherwell all the way through, with Willie Pettigrew, so we’ve just become best pals.

“He’ll be at my wedding and I’ve always stayed in touch with him. He’s one of the nicest boys I’ve ever met. People say you don’t get many friends in football, but he’s definitely one of them.

“As soon as that whistle goes, he’s nothing but an opponent, and he’ll be the same with me.”

Cove are flying high at the top of League One just now, eight points clear and with nine wins on the bounce.

Neill has been part of an imperious defensive record, which has seen Cove keep seven clean sheets in their last eight games and give them the platform to win games.

He added: “It’s 100 per cent down to the shape. It suits everybody to a tee.

“We’ve got pace in our team, we’ve got strength, we’ve got height and everyone is good on the ball.

“We’ve just got a belief; we’re going into every game believing we’re not going to concede.”

Since his summer arrival from the Sons, Neill has been a virtual ever-present in the Cove back-line.

He has missed just one game in all competitions, a 5-2 win over East Fife in August, and has been a dependable figure for manager Paul Hartley.

While acknowledging the odds are against the Aberdeen side on Thursday evening, he is full of confidence in where Cove are at just now.

Neill said: “We’re the underdogs. They’ll be aware of us – our form must be one of the best in the country and we’re doing really well.

McIntosh is congratulated by Cove team-mates Fraser Fyvie and Morgyn Neill
Morgyn Neill, centre, with Fraser Fyvie and Leighton McIntosh

“The gaffer obviously knows their manager really well and it’s a good occasion, not just for the players, but for the club as well.

“Last year they played against Rangers and didn’t have the crowd and I played against Aberdeen – for the fourth time in this round – without supporters.

“There’ll be about 10,000 at the game and it will be good. It’ll be one to cherish, particularly for the guys who’ve always played at Cove and maybe not played a lot of the big teams.”

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