Stirling Albion (H) | Match Preview

Back to news

The team faces a massive ninety minutes this weekend as the playoff battle moves into its closing stages.

Sitting just outside the top four places, we take on Stirling Albion in the knowledge that time is running out; we are fast approaching a win-or-bust scenario.

It will be the seventh league meeting of the sides with Cove Rangers so far unbeaten, Albion’s only victory coming in a League Cup tie in July 2021.

Despite last week’s defeat against Hamilton, Paul Hartley was pleased with the display, and believes his players can build on that:

“It was really disappointing to lose the game, it certainly wasn’t a 3-1, and I felt for large parts of the match we were excellent. For eighty minutes it looked as if there was only going to be one winner and then they hit us with that late sucker punch.

“We should have done better with the goals we lost, but overall, the team performance was really good, our play at times was excellent, and we created some really good chances, especially in the second half.

“I enjoyed the movement, and some of the passing and link-up was exactly what I want from the boys. We looked a real threat, and if we had got that second goal, I feel sure we would have gone on to take all three points.”

Now, the manager says his team have to show resilience, to feed off the positives, and be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch:

“What matters now is how you respond. You don’t always get what you deserve in this game, that’s the nature of football. We have had poorer performances than that and won matches. You just have to take it on the chin and bounce back in a positive manner.

“We are going to have to be more clinical, and I hope to see that this weekend. Certainly, if we put in a similar performance, we will give ourselves a real chance of clinching what would be a massive win for us.”

Captain, Mitch Megginson, shares that belief, and is convinced the squad has the quality and determination to rise to the challenge:

“We are all aware of the pressures, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It has been like this ever since I joined the club eight years ago; right the way through from the Highland League days we have been fighting for something at this stage of the season. It’s what you want, what you are building towards from day one of pre-season, to put yourself in this position.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re going for the title, for promotion, or as we are this year, for the playoffs, you do everything you can to achieve that success.

“It has always been intense throughout my time with Cove, and I thrive on that; you need that competitive edge, you’re hungry, and you have to work hard, to fight and battle.

“As a player, these are the challenges you have to embrace, you can use that pressure to give you the extra few percent that can make all the difference.”

Paul Hartley knows the threat Albion pose, and that they, like us, are desperate for the points, but he believes his team will show their quality and justify his faith in them:

“Stirling have adapted well to this league and that was a big win for them last week against Montrose, one which also did us a favour.

“They have plenty to play for too, possibly still needing a couple of results to avoid the relegation playoff place, and I expect another tough ninety minutes, but I have confidence the boys will show their quality and boost our playoff hopes.”

Blair Yule and Matty Shiels will again be missing through injury, but Cameron Stewart is fit and returns to the squad.

Supporters can buy their tickets in advance HERE

Article Copyright © 2024. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and to www.coverangersfc.com