Cove Rangers will meet Berwick Rangers in the SPFL play-off final after beating East Kilbride 5-1 on aggregate in their semi-final.
The Aberdeen side won 3-0 at the Balmoral Stadium – via Mitch Megginson’s 47th and 48th goals of the season, and a Jamie Masson strike – to add to their 2-1 advantage from K Park last week and progress in some comfort.
League Two’s bottom side Berwick will visit the Granite City next week, before the return leg a week later, as Cove try to go a step further than last term and reach the Scottish leagues.
Cove started with same 11 as the first leg, while East Kilbride made four changes. Among those to drop out were right-back Scott Stevenson, who had a testing afternoon at K Park and put the ball out clumsily in the third minute to give away the corner for Harry Milne’s opener.
Attacking midfielder Jamie Longworth, whose late goal gave Kilby a sliver of hope coming to the Balmoral, started.
David Proctor, Sean Winter and Michael Anderson also came in.
Cove started on the front foot, coming close on six minutes when Connor Scully flashed a free-kick just over the bar – after Proctor had taken down Megginson.
Paul Woods should’ve done better on 12 minutes when he got the ball at Cove’s back post for the visitors, but he hit his shot timidly at home keeper Stuart McKenzie.
Winter then made a diving block to stop at Dan Park volley from the inside the box at the other end.
By 25 minutes, when Scott Ross was booked for a halfway line lunge on Craig Malcolm, the game had become a bit cagier around the boxes, with most of the battle focused in the middle of the park.
However, on 28 minutes, Cove scored. Connor Scully sent pinpoint cross from the left byeline to Megginson.
The striker, inside six yards, controlled the ball on his chest, before flicking it over Willie Muir into the net for his 47th of the season.
It was a hammer blow for Kilby, but unbowed, Woods soon shot across goal from the right and narrowly missed the back post.
On 33 minutes, Blair Yule forced Muir to save a stinging drive from the edge of the area after finding a bit of space.
Two minutes later, home attacker Martin Scott was given a straight red for a stamp on Bernard Coll on the right touchline.
It looked like Scott might have simply lost his balance before standing on the full-back, but referee Mike Roncone was quick dismiss the veteran striker.
However, instead of pushing to get back in the tie, Kilby gifted Cove another goal. Proctor’s pass out from the back to centre-midfielder Michael Anderson was wayward. Megginson ran on the ball and cooly slotted under Muir for his second.
On the stroke of half-time, after Longworth had squandered a chance on the break for Kilby, Coll received a second yellow and the visitors were also down to ten men.
The left-back was booked in the aftermath of the Scott dismissal and got his marching orders for poleaxing Megginson in the centre circle.
After the break, Cove continued to play some good stuff, with Dan Park hitting a couple of decent shots at Muir’s goal.
On 63 minutes, Proctor headed over at the back post from a corner, but the game had lost its intensity and Kilby didn’t look like mounting a fightback.
Cove’s third came with 15 minutes left, Jamie Masson firing into the bottom corner from 10 yards after turning well in the box.