Cove Rangers gave Premiership outfit Hibernian a Betfred Cup fright before the visitors emerged with a 2-1 victory in Aberdeen.
A spectacular free-kick from Dan Higgins had Cove in front at half-time and they were good value for the lead, causing big problems for Jack Ross’ side.
Jamie Gullan levelled the scores four minutes into the second half and a well-taken volley from Kevin Nisbet squeezed Hibernian in front.
While it was Hibernian who took their second three points of the group phase, Cove can take great heart from their performance against an established top-flight team.
The home side travel to Brora Rangers on Tuesday night in their second group fixture.
Cove handed a debut to Ross Graham following his loan switch from Dundee United, while Leighton McIntosh and Adam Livingstone also made their first starts.
Hibernian were without international players Ofir Marciano and Paul McGinn but otherwise named a strong line-up against the League Two champions.
After a couple of promising forays forward, which included a McIntosh cut-back that narrowly evaded Mitch Megginson, Cove were thanking the woodwork after Christian Doidge’s downward header bounced up and hit the crossbar.
But Cove retained the fluency and confidence in possession they displayed last season. Jamie Masson collected the ball 25 yards from goal and looked to create space for a shot, before David Gray checked him to the ground.
Higgins took his time over the set-piece but it was worth the wait, arching over the wall into the bottom corner.
It served to boost Cove’s confidence and knock the visitors out of their stride. Dillon Barnes clung on at the second attempt to deny Megginson, after he was picked out by quick-thinking from Connor Scully.
The Premiership outfit fashioned a couple of chances of their own, with Doidge drawing a point-blank stop from Stuart McKenzie on 30 minutes and Stevie Mallan sending a free-kick wide of the far post.
Four minutes into the second half Hibernian dragged themselves, with half-time substitute Jamie Gullan meeting Martin Boyle’s cut-back to steer home.
Masson and Megginson both had sighters that flashed past Barnes’ upright but a second Hibees goal turned the game in their favour, with Nisbet finishing well on the volley from Melker Hallberg’s cross.
Credit had to be given to Cove, who refused to buckle. McIntosh had the beating of Lewis Stevenson for most of the afternoon, pinning him back and dragging Cove further up the pitch, well Harry Milne shackled Martin Boyle on the right.
With the lead in their hands now the Hibees sat in to see the game out but were given a real scare with Jamie Semple’s wonderful late volley, which Barnes tipped over the bar.