Inverurie Locos manager Kenny Coull believes an early goal is essential if Cove Rangers are to have any chance of overturning a 3-0 deficit against Edinburgh City in the second leg of the SPFL play-off.
The Highland League champions were well beaten by their Lowland League rivals on Saturday at Harlaw Park.
To have any chance of a remarkable comeback to set up a final against East Stirling, Coull believes scoring first and early is essential for John Sheran’s side.
The former Cove, Formartine United and Inverurie forward knows the Highland League champions will be stung by the manner of the defeat and eager to respond.
He said: “Sheran won’t be expecting his players to go along just to make up the numbers this Saturday,” he said.
“They need to be very positive, despite that disappointing. With the likes of Daryl Nicol and Jonny Smith in the squad they’ve got to be. It will be a very tough ask for Cove to get back into the tie, but they do have players who can turn it around for them.
“Last weekend’s result probably came as a shock to everyone involved in the Highland League.
“I certainly didn’t think City would come up here and beat Cove 3-0 on a ground where they’ve played most of their home league games this season.”
Coull hopes the wide pitch at Meadowbank Stadium will work to Cove’s advantage.
He added: “The bigger pitch might just suit Cove, although they have been playing well at Harlaw all season.
“I don’t know what the issue was last Saturday but in the return leg I think Cove have to go for it.
“They have absolutely nothing to lose in this tie and I’m sure John will have his players motivated for the game.”