Jamie Masson says Cove Rangers had added motivation to beat Berwick Rangers for boss John Sheran.
The co-manager suffered a heart attack on April 21, but has been recovering at home and watched on at the Balmoral Stadium as the Highland League champions thumped League Two’s bottom side 4-0.
That result means Saturday’s pyramid play-off final second leg at Shielfield Park should be a formality.
Masson was thrilled Sheran was able to watch the first leg and the midfielder said: “It was brilliant that John was at the game.
“He came into the changing room afterwards and gave all the boys a hug so it was good to see.
“What happened to John was an extra motivation for us.
“He obviously went through a difficult time, but so did Graeme Mathieson because they are so close.
“So it’s been tough for Graeme as well, but he’s done brilliantly taking us himself.
“Graeme along with Roy McBain have made sure training was enjoyable and everybody at the club has pulled together and hopefully that can get us to the next stage.”
Reaching League Two would fulfill Cove’s long-held held ambition and Masson says the chance to get promotion was a major factor in him joining the club at the start of last season.
The former Don added: “Playing in the SPFL was exactly why I joined Cove. When John Sheran came to me about coming to the club he spoke about the new stadium, the players that would come in and trying to get promoted.
“It sounded really good and I wanted to be part of it so hopefully we can make it happen.
“After last year’s disappointment we didn’t want something similar to happen because that took a while to get over.”
Cove surely have one foot in the SPFL after their emphatic display at the weekend.
But Masson insists the players won’t think like that ahead of the return at Shielfield Park.
Masson, who netted the fourth goal, said: “It was a great performance from us again. I think we took the two performances against East Kilbride into this one.
“Everybody said before the game when we spoke in the dressing room that we needed to go in with the same attitude.
“They are a League Two team so we were expecting to have to battle and then see if stuff broke for us.
“That’s what we did and it was a good day for us, but we have to go into the second leg as if it was 0-0 and try to win again.
“People might say we have one foot in League Two but we won’t be thinking that.
“We go into the next game treating it the same as the first leg.
“Hopefully we can get a goal or two and that might finish it off, but they’ve got a lot to play for and will have to come right at us. They’ll have a go and we need to be mindful of that.
“I was buzzing with my performance to be honest because I seem to playing well at the right time of the season.
“There were times when I was struggling to catch my breath because of the pace of the game.
“But I kept going and with my goal I saw the defender diving in so I got past him and just hit it and I was buzzing to see it hit the post and go in.”