Peterhead co-manager Ryan Strachan felt the Blue Toon competed well against Dundee United, despite coming up short against the Championship leaders in the third round of the SPFL Trust Trophy at Balmoor.
Glenn Middleton’s free-kick gave the Tangerines a comfortable interval lead but the Buchan team were much improved in the second period and were unfortunate not to draw level through Hamish Ritchie and Kieran Shanks.
Tony Watt’s well-taken curling effort in the 77th minute put the tie beyond doubt but Strachan took encouragement from his side’s display, given the level of opposition.
He said: “We were up against it in the first half.”
“Dundee United are a really good side and we did not really impose ourselves in the first half but I thought in the second half we were a lot better.
“We were braver with the ball and without it.
“We had a couple of good chances, specifically at 1-0 and then they go up the park and score which kind of put the game to bed.”
Strachan added: “We are disappointed to go out the cup but we competed for large parts in the match and the players should be proud of their efforts.
“You are measuring yourself against a team that is full-time and arguably should be in the Premiership.
“They are 20 places above us in league positions so it is good to compete against these teams and we have competed against them.”
Stuart McKenzie made two impressive first-half saves to deny United, firstly saving at the feet of Louis Moult and then thwarting the same player after the home defence was cut open.
But McKenzie will want to forget his part in the visitors’ seventh minute opener.
The former Cove Rangers number one seemed to misjudge Middleton’s low, curling 25-yard free-kick, which crept inside his near post.
Peterhead did well to still be in the tie by half-time as, barring a Danny Strachan shot which was blocked, they struggled to get to grips with Jim Goodwin’s men.
It was a far more even contest after the break, with the Blue Toon creating chances off the back of some neat play.
That was evident in the 70th minute as Rory McAllister cleverly fed Conor O’Keefe and his cross was swept goalbound by substitute Ritchie, whose shot was diverted behind for a corner by Kevin Holt.
More slick one-touch football had United on the back-foot with 14 minutes remaining as Shanks bent a long-range effort inches wide of the upright.
But within 30 seconds, the tie was as good as over thanks to a delightful Watt goal.
Kai Fotheringham, who was lively off the bench, cut the ball back from the right flank and Watt’s first-time angled shot from 16 yards found the top corner.
Late in the game, assistant referee Douglas Ross suffered a calf injury and could not continue.
His place went to the fourth official Dan McFarlane while the quarter final place went to Dundee United.