Peterhead boss Jim McInally hopes they can keep their work-rate going into the new League One season after an impressive 3-1 win over Cove Rangers.
The Blue Toon were deserved winners over their north-east neighbours at Balmoor, with goals from Scott Brown, Lyall Cameron and Russell McLean cancelling out one from Mitch Megginson.
Neither side had won in the Premier Sports Cup prior to meeting each other but it was a dominant Peterhead display which earned them the points.
He said: “I really enjoyed the game, particularly the first half. Both teams were playing to win. Apart from a few set-pieces we never gave away a lot.
“Wee Lyall is capable of scoring goals like that and the third is a big goal because it takes the pressure off a bit. You can never relax while Megginson and McAllister were playing so I was glad to see the back of them.
“We’ve had three really hard games in a week and we’re two weeks away from the league starting. We need to keep that work-rate up as I felt in the first-half, we made it hard for Cove in the way we pressed them.
“If we can be good pressers, we’ve certainly got enough ability in the team. Hamish Ritchie was a joy to watch on Saturday. That bodes well.”
Peterhead allowed Cove little time to settle with Brown giving the hosts the lead inside three minutes with a well-taken, clipped finish.
The visitors levelled the scores nine minutes later when Megginson tucked away Rory McAllister’s cut-back, following a promising move.
McLean was a handful all afternoon and had a penalty appeal turned down after he tangled with Scott Ross and Blue Toon goalkeeper Brett Long kept the scores level with a superb stop to keep out Robbie Leitch.
McInally’s men were ahead at the break with another clever finish, this time Cameron curling home from the edge of the box after being teed up by Niah Payne.
Peterhead’s energy in midfield told, with Cameron and Hamish Ritchie stand-outs while McLean finally got his moment in the second half.
Cove failed to properly clear a Ryan Conroy corner and the big striker turned in through a crowd of bodies.
Megginson limped off with a knee problem, which will need to be assessed, and Cove boss Paul Hartley was less than impressed with his side’s performance.
He said: “We were off the pace. We created chances but it wasn’t us. There was no intensity to our play and as a team we didn’t function properly.
“We had too many players off it. We didn’t do the basics well. We didn’t close players down, we lost too many second balls. Our decision-making is poor.
“It’s basic errors. We had no shape – we had to change it, when we shouldn’t have to. We could have been 2-1 up but we’re conceding at poor times.
“We conceded in the first three minutes then just before half-time. We’re conceding too many sloppy goals and we weren’t at it all.”
The Aberdeen outfit face Caley Thistle in their final group game on Tuesday and Hartley is not content to keep giving players a pass because of their lack of a pre-season.
He added: “We can’t keep making that as an excuse. We’ve got a lot of work to do and I keep saying that.
“We’ve got a game Tuesday and then we can really do some work. We have to be ready for the 31st.”
PETERHEAD (4-3-1-2) – Long 6; Mulligan 6 (Strachan 63), Jason Brown 6, McDonald 6, Conroy 7, Ritchie 7, Ferry 6 (Lyle 74), S Brown 7, Cameron 7 (Mushanu 83), McLean 7 (Kesson 74), Payne 6 (Jordon Brown 63). Subs not used – Wilson.
COVE RANGERS (3-4-1-2) – McKenzie 6; Ross 6, Neill 6, Higgins 6 (Milne 46), Yule 5, Draper 6, Vigurs 6, Scully 5, Leitch 5 (Fyvie 46), McAllister 6 (Watson 73), Megginson 6 (McIntosh 68). Subs not used – Gourlay.