Belfast Telegraph

Hatchetmen back on goal trail and keen to carve up Scots

By Alex Mills

Crusaders may have found the perfect time to rediscover their scoring touch as tomorrow's opponents Cove Rangers have proved a tough nut to crack this season.

The Scottish side are flying this season, top of the Highland League after recording 10 victories in 11 matches, scoring 51 goals and conceding only four.

Stephen Baxter's men will need to display their ruthless streak at Station Park, Forfar to progress to the next round of the IRN BRU Cup.

The Aberdeen side, now managed by John Sheran, were Highland League Champions for the fifth time last year and lifted the Highland League Cup in the 2016-2017 season.

On their home patch they will be favourites to sweep aside the Crues but the north Belfast side are on the march again after their comfortable 3-0 win over Glentoran in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday night.

Defender Rodney Brown, who scored his first goals for the club when he netted a brace, is hoping the Hatchemen can follow-up today.

"From one to 11, it would be fair to say it was our best performance of the season," said the Ballymoney man.

"It's always nice to get a couple of goals and it was good to get off the mark at last.

"We couldn't afford to become too down about the draws against Ards and Dungannon. It's a long season and you are going to have setbacks along the way. We are not even into double figures in terms of games played. Come March and April, we'll see then where we are.

"But we knew we had to respond. With the game being televised live, it gave us an added incentive to show what we are about. We have quality all over the pitch.

"We will certainly not become carried away. It was a good performance, but we must now kick on, it was three points, nothing more. We have a big test in the IRN BRU Cup coming up against Cove Rangers at the weekend. We then have three massive games after that, against Glenavon and Linfield in the league and Coleraine in the League Cup."

It is the first time Cove have faced a team from Northern Ireland in a competitive game. Manager Sheran says everyone excited by the prospect.

"It's great to be a part of this," he said. "The guys are looking forward to it and we're confident we can get a result if we play like we can.

"We know they are going to try to stop us playing. So it will be intriguing."

  • Cove Rangers v Crusaders, IRN BRU Challenge Cup: Station Park , Today, 3pm

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