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Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley full of pride in players after narrow Scottish Cup loss to Hibernian

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley felt his side gave Hibernian a fright and was proud of his players in the 1-0 Scottish Cup defeat.

The League One leaders took Hibernian to extra-time and it took a goal from Kevin Nisbet in the 111th minute to settle the contest.

The Cove boss felt his side emptied the tank at Easter Road and heaped praise on his players after their heroic efforts.

Hartley said: “I thought we were absolutely outstanding. We gave Hibs a fright.

“Our work-rate, our attitude – I think we just lacked a bit of legs at the end. We only had one night to work with them on this game.

“I couldn’t be any prouder. I thought we went toe-to-toe with a good Hibs team. The players are a little bit disappointed but there’s a bigger picture for us.

Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet squeezes in the only goal of the game to edge out Cove Rangers
Hibernian striker Kevin Nisbet squeezes in the only goal of the game to edge out Cove Rangers

“It’s a lack of concentration for the goal, with Nisbet on the pitch. But we gave them a fright and had some good opportunities.

“We looked a threat and they didn’t cause us too many problems. It’s cup football, you’ve got to go right to the end.

“It’s a sore one to take but we move on and we’ve got to look at the next 14 games.”

Cove were able to bring on Mark Reynolds, who only met his team-mates on the morning of the match, for a second-half debut after his arrival on Wednesday.

With the game also being screened on TV, it gave a wider audience to show the work which has been done at Cove over the last two-and-a-half years.

There is still so much to play for in the coming weeks and months, with Cove sitting eight points clear at the top of League One and having a SPFL Trust Trophy semi-final against Queen of the South to look forward to.

Hartley added: “We’ve got good players. We’re on a bit of a journey. The chairman is ambitious, as are myself and the group of players we’ve got in.

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley
Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley

“We’ve had the five-year plan – ‘can we get to the Championship’ – and if we keep working hard and showing the quality we’ve got, we’ve given ourselves a chance.

“Tonight was about coming and show Cove can play and we’re not scared of anybody. We’ll go toe-to-toe with anybody, it doesn’t matter who it is.

“I just didn’t want us to freeze and we didn’t do that.”

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