Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley insists Rumarn Burrell deserves all the praise he is getting after scoring his second hat-trick in three games in his side’s 3-1 win at Annan Athletic.
Burrell took his tally for the season to 15 with his treble at Galabank to help his side record an eighth straight win to move to within nine points of league leaders Hamilton Accies in League One.
Hartley said: “Burrell was unplayable at times, he was absolutely outstanding up there on his own.
“He deserves it. His running off the ball, he contained the back four, and some of his play was absolutely brilliant and his goals were terrific.
“I’m really pleased for him.”
Cove in control early at Galabank
Cove opened the scoring with their first attack in the third minute when Mark Reynolds headed Connor Scully’s free kick back across goal for Burrell to tap home from close range.
However, the lead last all of two minutes as Annan hit back through an angled drive from Michael Garrity.
Cove had a chance to regain the lead in the 21st minute when Reynolds was fouled in the box but Mitch Megginson’s penalty clipped the crossbar.
Aidan Smith struck the crossbar with a free kick for the home side before Burrell put his side back in front in the 34th minute.
Megginson’s ball sent the striker through on goal and he chipped the ball over the onrushing Greg Fleming. Ryan Muir tried to clear the ball but the assistant referee signalled it had crossed the line and the goal was given.
In a tense encounter Cove goalkeeper Balint Demus made a fine save to deny Garrity from scoring for the second time before home manager Peter Murphy was dismissed for disputing a decision not to award his side a penalty.
⚪️ Here is your Cove Rangers team for this afternoon’s match against @AnnanAthleticFC!
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) December 9, 2023
Visitors dig deep following Kerr’s dismissal after the break
Cove were reduced to 10 men in the second half when Kerr was shown a red card for a foul on Dominic Docherty.
The loss of Kerr forced a reshuffle for the visitors with Senna replacing Megginson but despite leading the line on his own Burrell duly completed his hat-trick when he fired home Connor Scully’s cross after Michael Doyle had sent Scully clear in behind the Annan defence.
Cove boss Hartley was delighted with his side’s ability to fight through adversity after missing the penalty and losing Kerr early in the second half.
He said: “You have to overcome things and keep playing your football, and we managed to do that.
“We were always a threat with 10 men and the players can be pleased.
“I see the signs of a really good team there. It’s taken a bit of time but you can see how they can handle the ball.
“We had to show a different side to us as Annan are a big side and dangerous from balls in the box and set plays.
“We had the perfect start after a couple of minutes then we lost a loose goal a few minutes later but I felt we were always in charge of the game and in control.
“Even when we went down to 10 men but we managed the game really well and I though the subs did really well when we had to change the shape.”