Cove Rangers’ Rumarn Burrell’s professional football career started with Grimsby Town and has led him to be the SPFL’s most in-form striker.
The 22-year-old, who hails from Birmingham, is the current leading goalscorer in the SPFL with nine League One goals to his name.
Burrell joined Cove on a one-year deal in the summer and his goalscoring heroics has helped them to six wins on the spin.
His side will be searching for their seventh when they travel to Stirling Albion in the Scottish Cup on Saturday with the match subject to a 10am pitch inspection.
Burrell signed his first professional deal with Grimsby Town in 2019 at the age of 18.
After the high of signing that deal, things got even better for Burrell as he earned a move and three-year contract with English Championship side Middlesbrough.
During his spell in Teesside, Burrell was loaned out to Bradford City in 2021 – which he says “didn’t go the best”, before a season on loan with then Scottish Championship side Kilmarnock.
It was at Killie where Burrell caught the eye of Falkirk boss John McGlynn, who signed the forward on a one-year deal upon the expiry of his Middlesbrough contract in 2022.
With the Bairns, Burrell says, he enjoyed his first “real” professional season due to playing week in and week out, scoring 12 goals in 39 Falkirk appearances.
❗️Stirling Albion have advised that there will be a pitch inspection at 10am tomorrow, Saturday, November 25th, to determine whether or not our Scottish Cup third round tie can go ahead.
The outcome will be posted on the Cove Rangers FC social media accounts as soon as we hear. pic.twitter.com/HLj4CgtYlW
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) November 24, 2023
Difficult time made Burrell the player he is now
But as he reflects on his route to current success in the north-east of Scotland with Cove, Burrell admits it has not been without its challenges.
“At the time when I got offered the deal at Middlesbrough it felt like it was the best thing ever,” Burrell said.
“I felt like I was going up in the world. I got there and the level was a jump from where I had been playing, so I had to adapt to that and try my best to progress.
“It was a difficult time when I signed there because we didn’t have an actual manager at the time. The manager didn’t say: ‘I want him’ and make plans for my future at the club.
“The club had been watching me and had decided to take me in and then the manager (Tony Pulis) got sacked.
“It was hard, but I do feel like it has worked out because I improved a lot when I was there.
“I used it as a chance to get good training from good coaches and I feel like I have taken on those skills and I am using them in my game now.”
Burrell hopes to keep finding the back of the net when leading the line for Cove, having already matched his best return for a season.
“I have come to Cove and I have scored 12 goals in all competitions – which is what I got at Falkirk last season – and it’s not even halfway through the season yet,” said the striker.
“It’s obviously been my best season yet. Hopefully, I can hit even more goals and see where it takes me.
“I saw the stat about being the top goalscorer in the SPFL and thought: ‘Is that really me?’ but I want to keep that up and keeping being the highest goalscorer in Scotland for as long as possible.”
‘They have filled me with confidence’
It hasn’t all been plain-sailing since Burrell’s move to Cove, as the Balmoral Stadium side struggled for form early on in the campaign, but the striker is glad to be repaying the faith manager Paul Hartley continued to have in him and his team-mates.
“When we (the new signings) all got here in the summer it was a bit difficult with some of us being full-time and some of us being part-time,” said Burrell.
“The team was made up of a lot of new players and it took us time to gel together and figure out how we wanted to play.
“Now, I think we have got a formula going and we’re starting to gel.
“The gaffer and the assistant manager (Gordon Young) have been very good to me and the team. They have filled me with confidence to be able to go out on the pitch and do what I do.
“They said to me at the start of the season that they wanted me to score 20 goals and want me to progress – and I want to go out now and do that for them.”
Cove enter the Scottish Cup in the third round this weekend when they travel to Stirling Albion.
And having reached the heights of playing in the semi-finals of the competition at Hampden with Falkirk last term, Burrell is hoping to create even more Scottish Cup memories.
“The club want to do well in the cup,” said Burrell. “We want to get through to the next round and play the top teams at the big stadiums.”