It was a happy start to the new year for Buckie Thistle as they moved three points clear at the top of the Highland League with a 3-0 win over Rothes.
The Jags were comfortable winners against a hard working and organised Rothes side.
It took Buckie 24 minutes to find a way through and a superb curled effort from Sam Uqhuart provided the breakthrough.
Kevin Fraser added a second in bizarre fashion on the stroke of half-time when his shot was saved by Sean McIntosh but the ball spun up in the air and Nathan Sharp missed an attempted headed clearance on the line.
Rothes had their best spell at the start of the second half when they pushed Buckie back.
Ricky Henderson had a great chance to get one back when Finlay Stables played a great ball over the top but Daniel Bell made a good save to deny the striker.
Buckie had lots of pressure in the second half but couldn’t hit the target again until six minutes from the end when Fraser’s mazy run into the box took him past three players and his cross found Craig Cowie at the back post to volley home for his first goal since his loan move from Deveronvale.
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart said: “I thought we didn’t start that well and Rothes were defending well and working hard. We were playing into their hands a wee bit because we kept going long to Nathan Sharp and Iain MacRae, both good centre halves.
“We played better in the second half and we will take 3-0. We have to take each game as it comes and we are almost two thirds of the way through the season.
“No-one fancied us to win the league at the start of the season so the pressure is on Cove and Brora. We are going into games confident because we are building something, not just for this season but for years to come. I think Buckie is going to be up challenging at the top for the next three or four years.”
Buckie: Bell, Munro, Carrol, Dorrat, MacKinnon, McLean (Angus 31), Fraser, Cowie, McLeod (Milne 77), Taylor (Copeland 68), Urquhart. Not used: Wood, Cheyne, Sim.