Paul Hartley was glad to welcome back Fraser Fyvie to the Cove Rangers side after six weeks on the sidelines.
Fyvie lasted an hour of the 1-0 Betfred Cup win over Forfar Athletic on Saturday, his first game since ipicking up a knee injury during a pre-season friendly against Dundee.
The former Aberdeen and Hibernian midfielder came off in the second half but came through the game unscathed. He is available for selection for Saturday’s game at Falkirk.
Cove won the game thanks to a second-half penalty from Rory McAllister, in what was the second time the two sides had met in seven days. The win sees them finish the group in third – they were already eliminated prior to Saturday’s game at the Balmoral Stadium.
Hartley said: “It was nice to get Fraser some minutes. The plan was always to play him 60-65 minutes – he’s not played first-team football in a while. It’s good for him to get minutes under his belt.
“It’s been good (the Betfred Cup) in that sense, to get people minutes, but we’re disappointed not to qualify. We were in a tough group but we move on now into the league.”
Forfar delivered a better performance than they had in the league meeting the week previous, with Stuart McKenzie required to make smart saves from Florent Hoti and Sam Fisher.
Aside from a scuffed effort from Mitch Megginson, Cove did not create much in the first half. It took the start of the second period for the game to come to life.
Fisher drew the impressive save from McKenzie at one end before conceding a penalty at the other, with referee Duncan Williams whistling for an adjudged handball. Goalkeeper Daniel Hoban denied Megginson though with a great low stop.
The hosts would get a second bite of the cherry from the spot after Hoban chopped down McAllister, with the ex-Peterhead striker rolling the ball into the empty net from 12 yards.
Fisher’s afternoon was compounded by picking up a second yellow card, this time for bringing down Jordon Brown at the edge of the box.
Forfar did push for a late leveller, with Ryan Strachan required to twice clear off the line, firstly from Murray Mackintosh then Hoti in the closing stages.
Hartley said: “I didn’t think we played particularly well. Forfar came and made it difficult for us, had a few chances. It wasn’t our best performances and standards dropped. We won the game but we can play better.
“I don’t think we moved the ball quick enough. They came here and defended in numbers but I felt we were loose with our passing.
“Our rotations weren’t good enough and we gave them too many chances.”