Cove Rangers manager John Sheran reckons his players always believed they would get the win as they left it late to beat Rothes on Saturday.
The championship challengers had to rely on a 76th-minute goal from Nick Gray to beat the side sitting 16th in the Highland League.
Cove created plenty of chances but could not find the back of the net in the face of some spirited defending from the Speysiders.
That was until substitute Gray scored his first goal for the club since his move from Turriff this month.
Sheran said: “We had a catalogue of chances and eventually one of them went in. We had enough chances to win three games.
“Teams set up to stop us and sometimes it is hard to break them down. But the belief was always there that we would do that.”
The victory saw Cove keep pace with their title rivals at the summit of the Highland League.
Sheran’s men are in third, one point behind leaders Buckie, with both teams having played 28 games.
Brora are in second, with the same amount of points as Thistle, 69, but having played twice more.
Next up for defending champions Cove is a trip to Wick Academy on Saturday and Sheran is expecting plenty of difficult challenges in the title run-in. He said: “We have six tough games left and we hope to do well in all of them.”
A determined Rothes fought hard to keep their opponents from scoring but they were unable to prevent Gray from bundling the ball into the net from close range.
Sheran said: “It was great to see Nick get off the mark.”