Cove Rangers built their derby victory over Peterhead on a solid defensive foundation, something which has been missing this season.
Keeping the Blue Toon at bay was the first time in seven League One games Cove had managed to keep the back door shut.
Their defensive record had been something they had relied upon in the last two seasons, conceding the joint-least in the league last season with title-winners Partick Thistle.
They profited on Saturday afternoon courtesy of a penalty from Rory McAllister, who returned north to his former club and scored the only goal of the game.
“I felt we deserved the win,” said Cove boss Paul Hartley. “We created the best opportunities in the first half and hit the bar in the second.
“It was a hard-fought win. Defensively we were a solid unit and it’s the first clean-sheet in the league, which is more pleasing for me.
“If you keep clean sheets you’ve got a good chance of winning the game. It’s a big thing for us. Defensively this season we’ve given away cheap goals, but I didn’t feel they cut us open.
“Every week you’ve got to try win the battle. When you come away from home you’ve got to be resilient and solid and that’s what we did.
“Morgyn (Neill) is in there to try and score. He gets the penalty and I felt overall we deserved that.”
Cove captain Mitch Megginson had the best chances of the first half, narrowly missing getting a touch on McAllister’s cross and firing over after Stuart McKenzie’s long ball caused confusion in the home defence.
McAllister hit the frame of the goal with a header early in the second half, coming from Iain Vigurs’ free-kick, but the game looked to be heading for a stalemate after a tetchy second period.
After booking numerous players in quick succession, referee Gavin Duncan awarded a penalty with 11 minutes to go as Andy McDonald was flagged for hauling Morgyn Neill to the ground.
Cove’s leading scorer buried the penalty for his sixth of the season and earned the visitors all three points.
“I thought a draw would have been a fair result,” said Peterhead manager Jim McInally. “After the games we’ve lost this year, I think we take something out of that.
“We had a good shape to us, we looked quite solid. They’re a good side; they’re confident and street-wise and I thought we matched them.
“Very rarely will you see Cove in a game where they’ve had less possession (than the opponent). I think we went toe-to-toe with them quite well.”
McInally had no complaints about the penalty awarded against Peterhead, but was unhappy with the officious performance of Duncan.
“We’re getting used to it now,” he said. “It’s something ridiculous like seven penalties. I watched the penalty from last week and I’ve seen the same again.
“The referee was whistle-happy all game – 25 fouls for Cove, 19 for us. Very few of them were free-kicks. He just kept stopping the game.
“But to be fair to him, I think he refereed it to the best of his abilities. He referees in the Premiership now and that’s where we are with referees.”
McInally was impressed with Peterhead newboy Flynn Duffy, who started a day after making a loan move from Dundee United.
He said: “He’s naturally a left-back, but he was able to fill in for Ryan (Conroy) and they were able to spin off each other.
“It gave Ryan a bit of comfort knowing Flynn was there and he’s quite quick. I think it was just before he came off before he gave the ball away.
“He’ll do fine for us.”