ELGIN City moved to the top of Division 3 with a win dedicated to injured player Chris Tucker.
Goal hero Daniel Moore, whose two penalties earned a 2-0 success over previous leaders Peterhead, said news of car crash victim Tucker’s progress gave the team a lift.
Tucker was one of six City under-21 players involved in a two-car smash near Alves on Wednesday night as the team returned from a match in Dingwall.
The 21-year-old sustained multiple injuries including two broken legs, but Moore revealed there was positive news prior to the kick off of Saturday’s match.
“We heard he opened his eyes for the first time today,” Daniel said. “That was the news just before the game and it was a big positive. Hopefully he can pull through now.
“It’s been a hard week, especially for the younger players. But we came out today to give it our all for Chris, and both those goals were for him.”
Moore said the team didn’t even train on Thursday because of the accident, and that might have been a factor in Elgin’s sluggish start to a disappointing first half.
However, the match swung City’s way when they were awarded two spot kicks, and Peterhead’s indiscipline led to them having three players sent off.
Blue Toon defender Callum McDonald was sent packing for a foul in the box on Stuart Leslie after 58 minutes.
Moore’s first attempt from the spot saw him booked for ungentlemanly conduct as he staggered his run-up in an effort to commit the goalkeeper to his dive. But his second try also hit the net, this time a legitimate one to give his team the lead.
Eight minutes later former Peterhead man Dennis Wyness was also fouled in the area by one of his former team-mates, and Moore once more clinically fired home.
A controversial moment arrived on 73 minutes when visiting player Steven Noble was adjudged to have dived during a midfield joust for the ball, and was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Team-mate Scott Ross followed him up the tunnel in the 89th minute for lashing out at Leslie, leaving Peterhead with just eight men at the full time whistle.
City manager Ross Jack said it had been hard to concentrate on football until there were signs that the critically injured Tucker was making a recovery.
“We talked about a number of reasons why we wanted to win this game. We wanted three points against the league leaders, in front of a bumper home crowd.
“But ultimately this was for Chris.
“It’s been an emotional week for the club but everyone has rallied together, and we were delighted to get this result at the end of it.”
A crowd of 945 saw City’s victory, and another big turnout will be expected for next Saturday’s visit of Queen’s Park, who lie joint top with Elgin.
Fallen giants Rangers drew away from home for the third league game running, a goal-less stalemate at Annan leaving them a point behind the leading pack.
Don’t miss Friday’s Northern Scot for all the build-up to Elgin City’s vital match.