Goal hero Steven Boyd insisted fitness made the difference after firing Peterhead to a 1-0 League Cup victory over Dundee United at Tannadice.
The Blue Toon started their season with a Premiership scalp courtesy of Boyd’s terrific second-half strike.
The striker – who was deployed in a front three by boss Jim McInally – was a standout performer for the Buchan side.
Boyd joined Peterhead in January following a spell with East Fife, but fitness struggles meant it was difficult for the 23-year-old to deliver his best form before last season ended in March.
The ex-Hamilton player, who is also a personal trainer, worked hard on his fitness during lockdown and says that enabled him to be the matchwinner on Saturday.
Boyd said: “It was a good, solid team performance and it was good to get that result.
“The whole team has been working hard in pre-season and we’re all fit and ready to go, so it was great to come here and beat a Premiership team. It’s a good start to the season.
“I just made a run into the box (for his goal) and peeled off my marker, Andy (McCarthy) has found me and I had to keep it down because it was in the air and I put it in the corner.
“My fitness is definitely a lot better this season, I’ve worked hard during lockdown and pre-season and my game is definitely benefiting.
“I was following my own training programme because I work as a personal trainer outside of football, so I’ve been working hard on that.
“I do both HIIT (high intensity interval training) and weights and then training myself as well to keep myself fit.
“Through lockdown I was doing a lot of HIIT and a lot of boys from other teams joining in as well because they couldn’t get to a gym.
“But now it’s mainly weights because I get the running side of it from football.
“My fitness being better has made a difference on the ball, because you need to work hard off the ball and then when you get the ball you could be knackered, but, if your fitness is better, it’s a lot easier when you get the ball.”
The Blue Toon handed competitive debuts to Josh Rae in goal, Josh Mulligan and Kyle Bailey in defence and Isaac Layne up front.
Layne had a chance to bag the opener in the eighth minute.
The striker met Andrew McCarthy’s cross from the right side, but headed wide from close range.
Seconds later, Mulligan was subbed due to an ankle problem, while striker Layne was withdrawn on the half-hour mark as a precaution after taking a bash to the knee.
United struggled to penetrate the Blue Toon’s defence throughout and were often sloppy in possession with the Buchan outfit looking sharper on their first competitive outing of the campaign.
The League One side started the second period on top and got the rewards for their pressure when McCarthy’s pinpoint delivery from the right was fired first time into the bottom right corner by Boyd from 15 yards.
The Tangerines never looked particularly likely to equalise and Alan Cook almost added a second for Peterhead, but for a fine stop by home keeper Deniz after impressive set-up work by Lyall Cameron.
Manager McInally said: “We’ve got a bit of extra factor up front now with Steven. We signed him last season and he wasn’t near fit.
“We were kidding him on that he’s turned up now and not his brother because he’s got himself really fit and is showing the class that he’s got.
“But it was a day when they all turned up and we played really well.
“It was a really good watch, I felt, and our fitness was excellent when you consider we hadn’t played a competitive game for so long. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to do something in this group.”