Cove Rangers delivered Paul Hartley his first win as manager with a stylish 3-0 dispatching of Raith Rovers.
The Aberdeen side ended their Betfred Cup campaign on a high, with Jamie Masson giving them the lead in the first half then Chris Antoniazzi and Declan Glass netted their first goals for the club to complete the win.
The result was rarely in doubt at the Balmoral Stadium and it sets them up nicely for the League 2 opener at home to Edinburgh City next weekend.
Ryan Strachan returned to the line-up for the first time this season, while Antoniazzi made his debut after signing on loan from Aberdeen. Scott Ross captained the side on his return from suspension.
A sweeping move from Cove early showed positive signs, with Jamie Masson drifting in from the left and teeing up Declan Glass, whose shot whistled past the far post.
They came even closer on seven minutes after Strachan turned Daniel Park’s corner back into the penalty area, with Martin Scott flicking the ball goalwards with his head. Only a sprawling save from David McGurn kept the scores level.
McGurn was a passenger for a Cove free-kick that Masson floated in, with Daniel Higgins getting across the goalkeeper and glancing a header just past the upright.
It was Higgins again who had the opportunity to test McGurn, as Masson’s left-wing corner made it all the way to the back post and the midfielder’s header was straight at the keeper.
Cove cut Raith apart in the 24th minute and should have been in front, with a fine piece of skill from Antoniazzi setting Scott free and his return ball to the Dons loanee was on the money. He touched it goalwards but somehow McGurn was able to block.
Bar a Lewis Allan shot from distance, which Stuart McKenzie clung on to, Raith were offering little as an attacking threat and Cove looked the team most likely to open the scoring.
The visitors were indebted to a goal-line clearance from Kieran MacDonald to keep out Ross’ diving header, when he launched himself at Masson’s corner, before the latter finally put Cove in front.
Glass skipped effortlessly away from Regan Hendry in the middle of the park and drove for goal, then just when the angles were closing up he fed Masson. The left winger stepped on to the ball and whipped it beyond McGurn into the far corner.
Cove doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half, with Masson’s cross-shot breaking to Park and after both he and Glass having shots blocked, Antoniazzi tucked away the rebound.
Hendry lashed over in a rare foray forward for the visitors and Kieron Bowie headed over, with the League 1 side toiling for an opening.
Glass capped off a superb display with a goal of his own, finding the net from 25 yards via the post when he was given time to shoot.
The Dundee United loanee could have had a second when he got on to Jordon Brown’s through ball, with only the bar denying him a second on a top-drawer afternoon for the home side.