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Champion finish to the campaign allows Cove Rangers skipper Mitch Megginson to savour League One player of the season award

Cove Rangers captain Mitch Megginson, the League One player of the season
Cove Rangers captain Mitch Megginson, the League One player of the season

Ending the season as a champion makes this year’s player of the season award much sweeter for Cove Rangers striker Mitch Megginson.

A year ago Megginson picked up the League One honour on the back of a play-off semi-final defeat to Airdrieonians, with Cove’s promotion ambitions thwarted in extra-time.

But this year they got the better of Airdrieonians. They finished seven points clear of the Diamonds and won League One, earning promotion to the Championship on the back of Megginson’s 18 league goals.

That form has earned him the player of the season award for League One again, but this time he can enjoy it.

Cove Rangers captain Mitch Megginson lifts the League One title
Cove Rangers captain Mitch Megginson lifts the League One title.

“It’s a fine way to end the season and a nice accolade to receive,” said Megginson. “Ultimately our goal last season we didn’t quite achieve. You take the award, but it still isn’t a good summer.

“It’s a complete change to this one. We achieved what we wanted to do and to get this at the end just tops it off. It’ll certainly be a good summer.”

When he joined Cove in 2016, the goal was to get into the SPFL. He has helped deliver Championship football at the Balmoral Stadium and, while nobody in the Aberdeen suburb will be getting ahead of themselves, the Premiership is only one tier away.

“It would certainly be something – I don’t know if anyone has achieved that before (playing in all divisions),” said Megginson. “It’s something you can dream of.

“When we were in the Highland League we dreamed of getting into League Two and then into League One. Here we are speaking about the Championship.

Mitch Megginson is mobbed by Cove Rangers team-mates

“I’m sure with Keith (Moorhouse) and the gaffer at the head of it, they’ll push it as far as they can.”

If not in the next 12 months, the club will face pretty significant structural changes within the playing squad.

There is an aspiration to at least develop a hybrid model of part-time and full-time players, to cope with the demands of climbing the pyramid.

“Up north there’s not many teams (who are full-time) – you’ve only really got Aberdeen in this vicinity,” added Megginson. “It would be huge for the club and I think it’s something the management team and chairman want.

“I’m getting a bit older so it’s harder for me to go back to full-time, but that’s where you bring in youth and try and develop them, to take over from us and push for places.

“You’ve got to have that sustainable plan in place and I’m sure that has been spoken about thoroughly by people above me.”

It is easy to forget that Megginson still might have areas of his own game he wants to develop.

It has become an assumption that he will be the main man for goals for Cove and Megginson has always delivered on that.

But, at 29 and as captain of the club, the learning does not stop.

“The more you play the more you learn,” said Megginson. “I left the Championship to come to Cove and now I’m in the Championship with Cove. That was the aim, but to do it in six years is fantastic.

“From start to finish, I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve had a couple of downs, but more ups.

“As a player you’re continually learning and what I do is score goals. (But) I try to be more involved in the play and that’s come on leaps and bounds.

“I wear the armband as well, so I’ve had to mature. I had a decent skipper before in big Eric Watson and I learned a fair bit from him.

“I think I’ve come on a fair bit, but, even though I’m touching 30, there’s still areas I want to improve. I want more goals – is that being greedy? – but next season we’ll have to be fitter and stronger.

“My speed and my sharpness help me, but maybe it’ll be a case of being a bit more physical and street-wise again next season.

“The aim is just to be consistent, be a top-performer continually and keep assisting and scoring goals.”

Fraser Fyvie and Mitch Megginson, front centre, celebrate Cove Rangers title triumph
Fraser Fyvie and Mitch Megginson, front centre, celebrate Cove Rangers’ title triumph

Cove will have to recalibrate expectations after a third promotion in four seasons. Jumping straight into the Championship and expecting the success to keep flowing cannot be realistic.

“The aims will still be the same: to play attractive football, playing the way we do and win games. That’s all we know,” added Megginson.

“We’re going in there to a full-time league and it’s tougher than what we’ve just experienced.

“I’m sure the gaffer will have everything ready for pre-season, but you can take a bit of a buzz of what Arbroath have done this season.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be in the top six next season and push for a top-half finish. But we understand how good teams are in that league.”

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