Formartine United boss Paul Lawson said he was delighted for his players after their historic Aberdeenshire Shield victory.
The Pitmedden outfit beat Banks o’ Dee 4-1 at Balmoral Stadium in what was their first ever Shire Shield final.
In contrast, junior Superleague champions Dee lost their third final in a row to Highland League opposition after defeats to Inverurie Locos and Cove Rangers.
They also lost this season’s Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup showpiece to Cove.
Lawson, lifting his third trophy in less than two seasons as North Lodge Park gaffer after last term’s Shire Cup and Highland League Cup victories, said: “I’m very pleased. To win a final’s great and that’s three in a row.
“It’s good and I’m just delighted for the boys.
“They got their just rewards for their performances in the earlier rounds.
“At times tonight we could have played a lot better, but I can’t argue with the scoreline.”
Man of the match Graeme Rodger, Archie Macphee and Andrew Greig were among the players who were the spark for United on a cold evening.
Lawson also pointed to skipper Craig McKeown’s performance.
He added: “Craig was outstanding again. He marshalled the defence really well.
“We had a better second half, but in the first half he was definitely our best player.
“I think Rodge edged it maybe slightly for man of the match, Archie did well up top and young Kieran (Lawrence in midfield).
“Ryan Stott was also excellent when he came on. That was really positive.
“Liam Burnett as well.
“I’m disappointed we lost the goal, that’s something we’re not too happy about. But at the end of the day, if you win the game you’ve got to be happy.”
Both teams started brightly, but disaster struck for Dee on 16 minutes. Right-back Mark GILMOUR, under pressure from midfielder Rodger and attempting to clear a dangerous low ball in the box six yards from his goal, rifled it past his keeper Andy Shearer and inside the back post.
Dee, to their credit, remained composed. Kane Winton played a perfect through ball to Gilmour on 25 minutes which forced United keeper Kevin Main to come out and concede a corner.
However, they were undone again on 32 minutes. United broke too easily, Rodger threading the ball to MACPHEE, with the hitman finishing low and right-footed into the far corner past Shearer.
It could have been three on 36 minutes had Garry Wood been a second quicker getting to the back post to meet a Stuart Smith cross.
On 42 minutes Greig’s change of pace got him down the wing to the byline on the right.
Macphee’s header from his cross was saved brilliantly by Shearer, but WOOD was on hand to volley home right-footed into the empty net.
Clearly frustrated, Dee started well after the break and Winton should have found the target with a header from a corner on 50 minutes, instead steering the ball wide of the front post.
Defender Greg Alexander then sent a free-kick just over from the right angle of the box.
However, Formartine struck again on 54 minutes, Macphee and substitute Ryan Stott involved in some slick build-up play before RODGER finished from close range.
The junior side finally had a goal through Jamie BUGLASS on 67 minutes, the replacement firing past Main from point-blank range.
There was a lengthy delay with 15 minutes to play before Dee were forced to carry on with 10 men.
Winton, pulling a calf in a collision with Rodger, had to be carried off the pitch with no stretcher appearing to assist efforts to get him off the Balmoral playing surface.
With play restarted, Macphee flashed a shot just past the back post from a tight angle inside the box after a good pass from man of the match Rodger.
Then, as regular time ended, Dee’s Michael Phillipson forced a Main save with a low effort from the edge of the area.
Dee co-manager Tommy Forbes said: “We were well beaten by a more streetwise and experienced Formartine side last night.
“To beat any of the top four sides in the Highland League, you have to hope they are not at it and then you’ve got a chance, but they were hungry and too strong.
“Their front two bullied us.
“We’ll go back to our bread and butter in the juniors.”