Losing talismanic striker Shane Sutherland was the only downside for Elgin City boss Gavin Price after their 3-0 win over League 2 leaders Cove Rangers.
Sutherland limped off towards the end of the game with a hamstring injury, with his side already three goals clear.
Goals from Kane Hester and Stephen Bronsky had Elgin two up at the interval, with Rory MacEwan extending their advantage at the start of the second half.
Price said: “It’s not looking great – it’s his hamstring. A bad pull or tear, then he could be out for four to six weeks. If it’s a slight strain it still could be a couple of games.
“It’s a shame for him. I’m sure he’s chasing his own records and wants to help us get into the play-offs. It’s a big blow to the team and he’s a big part of how we play, but it’s up to other players to take their opportunity.”
After the blow of losing their captain, Mitch Megginson, in the warm-up, the man who took the armband for Cove in his stead had a start to forget. His attempted back-pass to Stuart McKenzie was well short, allowing Hester to nip in and slot under the advancing goalkeeper.
Elgin pressured Cove with the wind in the favour in their first period, capitalising on McKenzie’s clearance that hung in the air with a shot from Matthew Cooper which was repelled. Hester will have been relieved to see the offside flag off the rebound, having missed glaringly in front of goal.
McKenzie was called into action again in the 20th minute to keep out Daniel MacKay, after Shane Sutherland’s reverse pass put the Caley Thistle loanee through.
The home side deservedly extended their lead on 22 minutes, with Conor O’Keefe’s well-placed centre met by Bronsky whose header found the bottom corner. Hester was again in the thick of things shortly after, collecting Sutherland’s lay-off and toe-poking his shot at McKenzie.
Price’s side continued to motor while the wind was in their favour, with Sutherland’s pot-shot from 25 yards spilled by McKenzie into the penalty area.
Fortunately for the keeper, Blair Yule was on hand to clear with Hester lurking.
Elgin started the second half in the same vein as the first, finding the net again.
Sutherland rolled MacKay through and he checked his run by the byline, before crossing. The Cove defence was static, expecting the ball to reach O’Keefe at the back post, but it hung up enough to allow MacEwan to run in unchecked and nod in.
The first meaningful shot at goal for the league leaders came just before the hour mark, with John Robertson teeing up Fraser Fyvie to strike from the edge of the area but Thomas McHale was equal to it.
Robertson was next to try his luck, with McHale this time getting down to parry for Ross Graham to clear, with Cove trying to find a foothold in the game to no avail. Yule had low effort clawed away by McHale as stoppage-time beckoned but Elgin were well worth the three points.
Price added: “A 3-0 win against the league leaders, you can’t ask for much more. We knew Cove would come at us but we knew we had firepower in the wide areas and strikers who can link play well.
“We had to defend a lot in the second half and Thomas has made a few good saves towards the end.”