Buckie Thistle overturned a 1-0 interval deficit to blow Rothes away with a scintillating second-half display of clinical attacking football.
The Speysiders were looking for their first home league win over the Jags for 34 years, but that long wait continues after Buckie gained revenge for Rothes’s recent Highland League Cup final triumph by hammering them 5-1.
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart felt confident his side could get back in the game, despite trailing at the break.
Stewart said: “I told them not to panic as I didn’t think there was much in the game in that first half on a pitch which wasn’t brilliant.
“Rothes played slightly better than us in the first half, but there was no reason to go in shouting and bawling at half-time – even if it is something I’m good at.
“I wanted to get the best out of the them, so I just said to relax, lift our game by 10-15% and get the likes of Kevin Fraser and Andy MacAskill on the ball in the final of the third of the pitch – and that’s exactly what happened.
“Rothes weren’t that bad, I certainly don’t think many teams will put five goals past them like we did.
“We knew if we scored two or three we would go on and win the game as they don’t score many goals.”
Rothes were unchanged from the side which won convincingly 4-0 at Newtongrange Star in the Scottish Cup last weekend.
The Jags made just one change from the team which won by the same scoreline at Strathspey Thistle, with Martin MacKinnon, a loan signing from Caley Thistle, taking over in goal from Scottish schoolboy international Lee Herbert, who dropped to the bench.
Rothes took the lead in the 25th minute when Buckie failed to clear a corner and the ball broke to Shane Harkness, who lashed it low past his Caley Thistle team-mate MacKinnon from 10 yards.
Buckie drew level in the 49th minute when Sam Morrison’s glancing header from MacAskill’s pin-point corner kick gave Sean McCarthy no chance.
On the hour Buckie Thistle took the lead when Kyle MacLeod’s 15-yard effort took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot McCarthy and trickled into the back of the net.
With quarter of an hour to go, Buckie effectively put the game to bed when Joe McCabe’s header found its way through a forest of legs and into the net with keeper McCarthy a bystander.
With seven minutes left, the Jags added insult to injury when Jack Murray rose unchallenged at the back post to head powerfully home and, in the final minute, substitute Sam Urquhart made it 5-1 by stabbing home from close range after a McCarthy fumble.
Disappointed Rothes manager Ross Jack said: “Buckie were certainly the hungrier team in the second half, we didn’t play the same football as we had in the first half and got caught cold a bit after the break.
“We got done by a few crosses into the box and a couple of deflections, but you work hard to get these breaks.
“I didn’t see this defeat coming, but we will take it on the chin, hopefully get back off the canvas and get ready for another tough challenge, a Scottish Cup tie against a very good Fraserburgh side here at Mackessack Park on Boxing Day.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Cup second preliminary round ties between Formartine United and Turriff United at North Lodge Park and Wick Academy and Musselburgh Athletic at Harmsworth Park were postponed for a third time because of waterlogged pitches and have been rearranged for tonight.
The match between Formartine and Turriff will take place behind closed doors at Keith’s Kynoch Park with a 7.45 kick-off.