Cove Rangers remain two points off the top of League One after Morgan Neill’s last-minute header, his first for the club, gave the home side all three points after a tight encounter against Airdrieonians.
The victory at Balmoral Stadium sees Paul Hartley’s team record back-to-back league wins for the second time this season.
After a first half in which both teams seemed to cancel each other out and with neither keeper having to make a save in earnest, Cove turned the screw with both Neill and fellow defender Harry Milne seeing headed efforts denied by the crossbar before the former Dumbarton man’s late decider.
Iain Vigurs started the move, switching play from left to right with a fine diagonal ball to substitute Leighton McIntosh.
The ex-Airdrie attacker fed the overlapping Shay Logan, whose excellent cross was met by Neill at the far post in an extremely crowded six-yard box.
Manager Paul Hartley admitted it wasn’t the greatest spectacle for the 652 spectators.
He said: “It wasn’t the best game, in terms of how we want to play but we’re in a business where you have to win and sometimes you’ve got to find a way of winning and we found that today.
“It was a great header from Morgyn, it was a good ball in from Shay and we had a couple off the bar so we’re really happy with the three points. It’s always a hard game against Airdrie.
“I thought our two centre-halves were terrific. They played really well, they were commanding and they did their jobs so it was just nice to get another clean sheet and hopefully we can keep building on that.”
Hartley admitted he wasn’t pleased with the way his team had performed in the first half.
He said: “I wasn’t happy with the way they were playing so we had to change it and just try and get a wee bit more quality and a wee bit more of an edge to us as we didn’t have that in the game. I just don’t think we were at it but it’s always a tough game against them and I’m delighted to get the win.”
The manager is also keen to see more success from set pieces from his side going forward.
He said: “I feel we’ve not scored enough off set plays this season with the quality we have at taking them and we’ve got decent height in the team. Morgyn is a good presence in the opposition box and it’s a great header to win the game.”
On-loan Dundee midfielder Finlay Robertson made his debut, coming on as a second half substitute.
Hartley added: “He’s a quality young player, I’ve a lot of time for him and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
With just five points separating the top eight sides, how Cove perform at Balmoral is crucial according to the manager.
Hartley said: “Home form is always going to be key for us. We’re really strong at home so to get another three points against a team that’s going to be up there at the end of the season is a terrific win for us.”
Left back Harry Milne believes it was the right outcome in the end.
He said: “I felt we controlled the game pretty much throughout, the game itself was a pretty poor one, but we’re happy to come away with the win.”