Paul Hartley “couldn’t be any prouder” of Cove Rangers in Hibs defeat

Following Cove Rangers’ excruciating Scottish Cup exit at Easter Road, manager Paul Hartley met the media to express his pride. Angus McGregor reports.

(Photo Credit – Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley was immensely proud of his side during their 1-0 extra time loss away to Hibs. The former Hearts and Celtic player claims the League 1 side gave the Premiership team a “fright” as they came so close to taking the game to a penalty shootout.

Kevin Nisbet’s 112th minute strike was all that separated the two teams with the former Highland League side doing themselves proud in a tireless effort.

 “I thought we were absolutely outstanding tonight,” Hartley said. “Certainly gave Hibs a fright. Our work and our attitude was great, I think we just lacked a little bit of legs in the end. We went toe to toe with a good Hibs team so the players are a little disappointed but I couldn’t be any prouder”.

There was very little to separate the two sides throughout the ninety minutes, with Hibs having the better of the chances in the first half and Cove going closest in the second. The gulf between the two teams positionings in the league ladder was far from clear, with Cove’s efforts causing many uncomfortable moments for the home side.

The performance encapsulates the journey that Cove are on, with them going from being a Highland League side in 2018 to sitting eight points clear at the top of League 1 just now. 

Hartley proudly stated, “The chairman’s ambitious and so are myself and the group of lads we’ve got in. We’re doing okay and have the five-year plan to get into the Championship. We would love to get there this year but that’s not a given. But if we keep working hard, showing the quality and believing in ourselves, then we’re giving ourselves the best chance.

“I think tonight was about coming in and showing that Cove can play and aren’t scared of anybody. We’ll go toe to toe with anybody and we’ll have a go regardless of who we play cause that’s the way we want to play”.For Cove, it’s back to league business next weekend as they look to maintain their lead at the top as they visit relegation battling Dumbarton before a massive game against second placed Airdrieonians

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