Jamie Masson reckons Cove Rangers’ winning mentality came to the fore in the 2-0 win over Peterhead.
Goals from Mitch Megginson and Harry Milne settled a tight affair in Cove’s favour, which maintained their 100% start to the season.
It was not a game which was fluid and flowing, but the two moments of quality from the away side told, keeping their opponents at arm’s length.
Masson said: “When I came to Cove, it’s brushed into you. It’s the winning mentality. It’s all about winning.
“That’s what was required on Saturday – it wasn’t pretty and you can’t just play pretty football every Saturday. We showed another side to us, that we can grind out results.
“That’s all that’s in our heads now: picking up three points. We’ve had a good pre-season and the boys are hungry and fit. We couldn’t wait to get started. Two games in and we’ve already got six points.
“We’ve got a really strong squad just now and obviously through the season there will be injuries. I’m confident lads will step in and do the same.”
It was the first time the two teams had met in the league for 20 years, since both were Highland League outfits at the turn of the century. Peterhead made the jump up to the SPFL in 2000 alongside Elgin City, with Cove following suit last summer.
The Blue Toon started the brighter at Balmoor and had the best early chances, with Steven Boyd and Alan Cook forcing saves out of Stuart McKenzie.
Masson had Cove’s first sight at goal with a low strike that looked to be creeping inside the near post before Josh Rae dug it out.
Peterhead’s Jason Brown glanced a header wide, against a side at whom he had a loan spell in 2017, before Megginson put the away side in front 12 minutes before the break with a clinical effort from 20 yards.
Cove benefited from a break of the ball for the second goal with Megginson’s cross only half-cleared, as Milne strode on to it and lashed beyond Rae into the far corner.
Peterhead were limited in their options to change the game, with Derryn Kesson brought on for Derek Lyle in their only change, and the lack of firepower up front showed as they struggled to test McKenzie further.
Rae was required again to keep the score at two, making a smart stop to turn away a Dan Higgins free-kick that looked to be heading goalwards.
While Peterhead committed bodies forward late on, it was not enough to disturb a merited Cove victory.
Cove manager Paul Hartley said: “They were tough conditions and it wasn’t an easy game. When you come up here you know you’re going to have to grind, work hard for it.
“It was a game of two halves. They probably were the better team in the first half and we managed to get ourselves in front. We said at half-time we could pass it quicker in the second half because we’d have the wind, which was a problem for us in the first half.
“We took our chances when they came. We didn’t have a lot, which isn’t like us, but this league is so difficult.
“When you go away from home, it’s important you’re hard to beat and we were that on Saturday.”
Cove now take their unbeaten record back home to the Balmoral Stadium next Saturday, when they face Partick Thistle.
Hartley added: “It’s definitely a step up. It’s a tough league and there’s some good players; you’ll get punished if you’re not on your game.
“We’ve got teams that are ahead of us in terms of their experience, being full-time. We only manage to see our players a couple of times a week, but they’ve got a great work ethic and a great attitude to the game.”