Mitch Megginson thinks Cove Rangers’ 5-1 aggregate win over Lowland League champions East Kilbride in the SPFL play-off semi-final did not flatter them.
The Aberdeen side produced another dominant performance to win 3-0 at the Balmoral and add to their 2-1 lead from K Park.
They will now face League Two’s bottom side Berwick Rangers in their second consecutive play-off final as they try to reach the Scottish leagues.
Megginson, now on 48 goals for the season after scoring twice on Saturday, said: “If you told me (the scoreline) before the semi, I’d have been surprised.
“But the way we played and went about our business, I thought we were different class.
“It’s the best we’ve played in terms of game management and discipline and we were clinical.”
After a nervy start, striker Megginson looked to have settled the home side. However, his partner up top, Martin Scott, was then given a straight red for a stamp on Kilby full-back Bernard Coll.
In what could have been a potentially perilous moment, visiting defender David Proctor passed the ball straight to Megginson to score again and Cove never looked back, with Jamie Masson adding another late on.
Megginson said: “I think they came with a game plan to mix it up and get in our faces, which they probably didn’t do last Saturday.
“You seen that in the first half with a lot of tackles flying in, but job done from our perspective.
“The move (for the first goal) was really sharp. (Connor) Scully went down the left and the ball was almost out of play, but he got it in.
“I managed to take the touch and put it away, which settled us.
“We’d said before how important it was to get the first goal. If they got it they were right back in the tie, if we got it, it was a two-goal cushion.
“To get the next goal so quick after the sending off helped us manage the game from then on.
“I managed to read it (for the second) quite well.
“I seen the pass coming and managed to nip in. The keeper came out and made it difficult, so I was delighted to see it hit the back of the net.”
Focus now turns to the final, with Berwick visiting the Balmoral next weekend and the return leg a week later.
Cove fell 3-2 to Cowdenbeath in controversial circumstances at Central Park last season.
Many observers would suggest, given Berwick’s form, the hard part is out of the way for the Aberdeen side, but the hit man said: “We’ll have to earn that right and over the years it has been difficult for the Highland and Lowland League to do it, but we’ve certainly got the squad and ground to do it,” he said.
A total of 1,151 fans packed into the Balmoral for the conclusion of the semi tie.
Cove started on the front foot, but Kilby’s Paul Woods should have done better on 12 minutes when he got the ball at Cove’s back post, but hit his shot timidly at home keeper Stuart McKenzie.
On 28 minutes, Cove scored. Scully sent a pin-point cross from the left by-line to Megginson.
The striker, inside six yards, controlled the ball expertly, before flicking it over Willie Muir into the net for his 47th of the season.
It was a hammer blow for Kilby, but, with 35 minutes played, Scott was dismissed. It looked like the attacker might have simply lost his balance before standing on Coll, but referee Mike Roncone was quick to send the veteran striker off.
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 coolly slotted under keeper Muir for his second.
On the stroke of half-time Coll received a second yellow and the visitors were also down to 10 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.
Cove’s third came with 15 minutes left, Jamie Masson firing into the bottom corner.