Elgin City manager Barry Smith challenged his side to take their good Borough Briggs form on the road after a battling win to take them off the bottom of League Two.
Goals by Rory MacEwan and Connall Ewan earned an important 2-0 win for the Moray side to make it seven points out of a possible nine from their last three home league games.
It’s City’s away form which has created their struggles this season, including the shock 6-0 Scottish Cup loss at Jeanfield Swifts but Smith is looking forward and not back.
“We looked more streetwise today and we just have to remain focussed and make sure we are switched on all the time,” he said.
“It was a very good performance in difficult conditions and we must battle like that in every game.”
He paid tribute to keeper Tom McHale’s display to preserve a rare clean sheet for the Black and Whites.
Smith said: “Tom had two excellent saves, one in each half as well as an important one from a free kick late on.
“He kept us in the game when he had to and credit to the boys for getting the goals in the second half.
“Even at 2-0 we kept attacking but we had to make sure the back door was locked, and we did that.”
McHale missed last week’s defeat at Stranraer due to illness but returned to the side and was a home hero.
He said: “I just wanted to set a standard and having done that, we all need to follow through and do it week in, week out.
“I had some saves to make and I’m delighted with my performance coming back into the team.”
Smith handed a first start to striker Robert Jones, who scored in the Stranraer defeat while McHale and captain Matthew Cooper shook off the effects of a sickness bug.
Heavy rain rendered the contest a battle with precious few openings in the first quarter.
Rose had a superb chance on 25 minutes when veteran Liam Buchanan stole in behind the home defence but McHale did well to push away his effort, and Ross Gray’s rebound strike was blocked.
Jake Dolzanski had a header saved by Paddy Martin while the home team had a real let-off on 29 minutes.
The goalscorers from today’s game! ⚽️⚽️
Not scored a goal for 20 months…. Then scores in back to back home games 👏🏻 – Rory MacEwan put Elgin into the lead after 46 mins today
Second 2-0 home win of the season…. Both have now included Connall Ewan goals this time after 61 mins pic.twitter.com/Mv4R6WzBRD
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) November 11, 2023
Josh Grigor headed a Lee Currie corner off the post and McHale did well to turn Kerr Young’s snap-shot over the bar.
Ross County loan midfielder Ryan MacLeman wasted a great opportunity for Elgin just before half time, firing straight at Martin from eight yards after Rory MacEwan set him up.
Elgin opened the scoring less than a minute into the second half. Ross Draper took possession on the left and slipped a pass through to MacEwan, who took a good touch and slid it beyond Martin from 12 yards.
McHale made another brilliant save to deny Young ten minutes into the second half.
It got even better for the home side on 61 minutes when they doubled their lead.
Aberdeen loan striker Liam Harvey floated in a free kick from deep and Ewan raced forward and slid in to apply the vital touch on the edge of the six-yard box,
City were a different force in the second half with Harvey flashing a drive over ten minutes later.
It took a vital clearance from captain Cooper to avert the danger posed by Rose sub Kieran McGachie’s ball across the six yard box.
MacLeman then thought he had scored a third Elgin on 82 minutes when his deflected 25 yarder skidded in, but an offside flag halted the home celebrations.