Rory McAllister is relishing the opportunity to pay tribute to Stuart McKenzie when the team takes on Dunfermline Athletic in the legendary goalkeeper’s Testimonial Match.
The Pars are at Balmoral Stadium on Saturday to help honour Stuart for his services during two spells with the club, stretching back to 2008.
Veteran striker Rory is looking forward to Stuart’s big day – and called for the Cove Rangers supporters to turn out in force to make sure it is one that the 34-year-old will never forget.
“I couldn’t be happier for Stuart and his family,” said Rory.
“We have played football together, either as team-mates or opponents, since we were just young kids.
“That stretches way back when we were playing at under-10 level, when Stuart was with Albion Boys Club and I was with Middlefield. I also came up against him when he was at Montrose and Cove.”
During Stuart’s time with Montrose, big Rory scored eight times in just five games for Peterhead against his old friend.
“To be honest, I don’t know how he eventually made it to where he is now because I used to bang the goals past him. It’s maybe just as well we finally ended up together at Cove, so that life could get a bit easier for the big fella, now that he is getting on a bit!
“I’m only joking, of course.
“Stuart has been a great servant to Cove and has proved over many years that he is a top class goalkeeper. You only need to look at the contribution he made as we won the League One title last season to see just how important he is to the club.
“Stuart had the most shut-outs in the division and even scored the winning goal up at Peterhead – which you don’t see too many keepers doing.
“There were also many games when we won by a single goal, but only after he had made crucial saves, either near the end or in the early stages.
“Those tend to be forgotten by a lot of people, but not by those of us who were out on the pitch and know were it not for Stuart we might not have enjoyed the success we did.
“Stuart gets a wee bit of stick at times because he’s such a quiet guy – but he does his speaking out on the park.
“Even though I always tended to score past him, I have huge admiration for Stuart and it would be great to see our supporters packing out Balmoral Stadium in tribute to one of the true greats of this club.
“He’s enjoyed a fantastic career and deserves a fantastic turn-out.”
Rory is confident Stuart will also shine in the coming season, which will see both of them get a taste of playing at Championship level for the first time in their careers.
“Stuart has been a star performer for Cove all the way up from the Highland League and I’m sure he will take the challenge of playing in the Championship into his stride too.
“There’s a few of us in the same boat, who are looking forward to testing ourselves in the Championship and seeing if we can go toe-to-toe with some of the oldest and best known clubs in the Scottish game.
“Arbroath are the only other part-time side we will come up against, but that won’t bother us.
“Our squad is good enough and the bigger the task put in front of us the better we seem to play, so bring it on.”
Tickets for Stuart’s big game, which kicks-off at 1.00pm on Saturday, June 25th, can be bought here https://coverangersfc.ticketco.events/uk/en/e/cove_rangers_v_dunfermline_fc
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