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Conor O’Keefe centre stage as Elgin City make short work of Montrose in Betfred Cup

Elgin boss Gavin Price.
Elgin boss Gavin Price.

Elgin City continued preparations for Saturday’s League Two curtain-raiser with a fine win against League One side Montrose in the Betfred Cup.

First-half goals from Conor O’Keefe and Josh Peters proved the difference as Gavin Price’s men made it six points from six to maintain their 100% record in Group D.

Price said afterwards: “I’m pleased. To come to a good side like Montrose, keep a clean sheet and get a victory is impressive.

“We withstood a lot of early pressure. It looked as if we were in for a tough night, but we withstood it and then we adapted well and turned the game in our favour.

“I’m pleased with the way we are shaping up at the moment.”

The first chance fell to the hosts in the 10th minute. A long ball from the Montrose defence had Graham Webster beating the offside trap.

He controlled well, but lacked the composure to force Black and Whites goalkeeper Tom McHale into any work and blazed over a half-volley from 20 yards.

Elgin were defending well and even had a goal line clearance as the Gable Endies began to have more of the play.

Just before the half-hour mark City made the breakthrough.

A long diagonal ball over the top caught the Montrose defence flat-footed as O’Keefe used his pace and skill to break away and slot home from 18 yards.

The goal gave the visitors a real shot in the arm as they began to open the Montrose midfield, enjoying more possession in the final third.

Just before the break Elgin had a second. O’Keefe turned provider this time as he beat his man on the left before crossing to the back post for Peters, whose header cracked off the upright before rebounding to his feet for an easy finish.

The Elgin players were playing with a newfound confidence and ended the half strongly.

The second period saw a flurry of changes from both sides as they looked to get minutes into their squad.

Montrose were becoming frustrated as they passed up opportunities for a way back into the game. McHale stood strong to deny an effort from close range.

Montrose had begun stronger, but once again Elgin defended when they had to and limited their opponents to little.

On the break, the pace of O’Keefe continued to be the main threat from City.

Elgin held on for an impressive victory as they made it two wins and two clean sheets ahead of Saturday’s league opener down at Stranraer.

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