Cove skipper not ready to let shield go without fight
COVE Rangers captain Eric Watson lifted the Aberdeenshire Shield last season.
And he already has his sights set on repeating the feat this season.
The Granite City team face rivals Formartine United in round two of the Shield at the Balmoral Stadium tonight.
In his time with Cove outfit Watson has won 11 trophies. But he has never retained a cup competition and that is something he would like to change as he bids to make it a hat-trick of Shield triumphs.
However, Watson does not expect an easy evening against a Formartine team who have won their last four games.
He said: “As the holders of the Shield, we would like to hold on to it for another year.
“It’s always good to retain trophies. We haven’t managed to retain any of the cups in my time. It’s something we don’t get to do very often and we’d like to do it this year.
“All the games we have with them are tough. Over the last couple of seasons all the games between us have been really close and I don’t see it being any different.”
Cove have won the last two meetings of the sides. They edged past United 1-0 at the Balmoral Stadium in August in the second round of the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup, before winning 2-0 in the league in September.
Watson scored the winner in the first game and believes they can take confidence from it. He added: “There wasn’t much in that game at all.
“We can take heart from it. They had a couple of chances and we had a couple of chances but we managed to get the win and then managed to go on and win the trophy. We’re out to win this game as well.”
Cove come into tonight’s clash having won all 13 Highland League games they have played this term. That feat has been achieved despite having a number of key players missing at various points of the season.
Watson said: “The way we have coped with injuries shows the depth of the squad we have. We have players who have been on the bench that will be thinking they will be playing every week.
“John Sheran has mixed the team up and given everybody a run in the team.
“The results we’ve had show that we can take these suspensions and injuries and still manage to grind out results.”
Formartine’s Garry Wood says they are targeting the Shield as a realistic chance to win silverware. Patchy league form means United have slipped seven points behind leaders Cove at the top of the table having played two games more.
Wood sees the Shield as a good chance to win something and the striker said: “Due to our poor form earlier in the season we are a bit behind in the league.
“So the Aberdeenshire Shield and the Highland League Cup are more realistic in terms of silverware.
“We’re looking to win the tie tonight first, but also win the whole tournament.
“The main aim at the start of the season is to get as much silverware as we can.
“The league is the main aim but we’ve got to be realistic about where we are just now and the Shield and the League Cup give us the opportunity to get silverware.
“Cove are doing really well so it will be a tough game against them, it always is.
“We’ve been on a good run. In the last eight games we have only had one draw and won the other seven.
“We’ve hit a bit of form, which is good to see after an indifferent set of results before that.
“But this game is a step up in the class of opposition. Hopefully we have enough to win the tie and get through.”
Elsewhere, in the Highland League, Nairn County host Brora Rangers at Station Park and Fort William play Clachnacuddin at Claggan Park.
Cove’s Eric Watson, right, was delighted to get his hands on the Aberdeenshire Shield last season