Rothes forward Jaime Wilson was glad to see his side’s hard work pay off as they eased to a comfortable 6-1 victory over Nairn County.
The result moved the Speysiders above Keith and into 11th spot in the Highland League, although the margin of victory flattered the home side.
Wilson, who produced a man of the match performance and chipped in with two goals, said: “We took our chances and our finishing was clinical.
“We’ve been working really hard in training and our fitness levels are good and that showed out there.
“I ran about 80 yards to get on the end of Steven Anderson’s great pass to score our final goal. He did really well to set it up for me and I was pleased to get on the end of it.”
Rothes were at full strength with defender Paul MacLeod making his first start after five months out recovering from a heart-related illness to line up against the club he served with distinction for nine seasons.
Striker Liam Shewan, signed by County from Clach, was given a start up front alongside Max Ewan.
The home side came close to opening the scoring when Anderson’s fierce drive from the edge of the box flew a yard wide of the far post.
A poor clearance from Rothes goalkeeper Robbie Donaldson landed at Adam Naismith’s feet but Donaldson got back between the sticks in time to gather the midfielder’s poorly struck 25-yard effort.
In the 40th minute Rothes took the lead when County goalkeeper James Kendall’s poor clearance fell to Ally Sutherland 35 yards out, and he cleverly lobbed the ball back over the stranded goalkeeper for the opener.
Rothes doubled their advantage a minute from half-time when County failed to clear Anderson’s deep cross and Wilson ghosted in at the back post to send a diving header into the back of the net.
Two minutes into the second half County pulled one back when Cohen Ramsey’s curling free kick was met by Callum MacLeod who got the deftest of touches to steer the ball under Donaldson’s body.
Rothes restored their two-goal advantage on the hour mark when Alan Pollock’s long-range free-kick was met by County’s Glenn Main whose attempted 12-yard headed clearance, under intense pressure from Wilson, sailed high over Kendall’s head into his own net.
With 14 minutes left, Speysiders’ substitute and former Nairn County favourite Gary Kerr almost burst the net with a glorious 25-yard effort to net the goal of the game.
Two minutes later the Nairn defence failed to clear their lines from a corner and Rothes centre half Bruce Milne’s downward header squeezed under Kendall for the home side’s fifth goal.
Rothes made it six with three minutes to go when Anderson broke free, fed Wilson, and on the run he beat Kendall with a superb 12-yard drive.
Disappointed Nairn County defender Adam Porritt said: “There definitely wasn’t five goals between the sides but we gave away too many goals, all from individual mistakes.”