BUCKIE Thistle may have produced their best performance under manager Gary Hake in the 4-0 derby win over Lossiemouth.
Even with a makeshift line-up and a first half red card for Lewis MacKinnon, Jags dominated Lossie from start to finish and won comfortably.
“After the defeat last week (4-1 at Cove) we asked the players to give us a reaction and they certainly did that today,” Hake said after Saturday’s win.
“I think we’ve put on one of the best performances since I’ve been manager.”
Buckie were without goalkeeper Kevin Main who was on holiday, while Graeme Stewart and Iain MacRae missed out due to illness, Donnie Munro to injury and Neil Davidson because of work commitments.
In came Daniel Bell in goal, while Chris Hegarty returned from suspension to play in midfield and recent signing Andy Low joined Nikki Smith, Liam Baxter and Aaron Conway in the home attack.
A flying start saw Jags go two goals ahead inside the opening ten minutes.
Conway scored first from the penalty spot after Baxter was fouled by Chris Ross on four minutes.
Then Shaun Carrol found space just inside the box to arrow a superb drive high into the Lossiemouth net.
Buckie stopper MacKinnon was sent off ten minutes before the break for an alleged elbowing offence on Lossie defender Jamie MacKinnon.
However the home side continued to dominate with ten men, and struck twice in the final 20 minutes to ease their way to the three points.
Baxter punished a short passback by Kevin Flett to side-foot past Errol Watson on 71 minutes.
And seven minutes later a tremendous 30 yard effort by Conway wrapped up Buckie’s victory.
The teams will meet again next Saturday in the second part of their festive derby double header, this time at Lossiemouth’s Grant Park.
Buckie: Bell, Wood, Duncan, Hegarty, MacKinnon, Angus, Conway (Hodge 85), Carrol, Baxter, Smith (MacMillan 80), Low (Gauld 80).
Lossiemouth: E.Watson, Wilson (Ross 90), Mitchell, C.Ross, McKinnon, Flett, Farquhar (Mathers 78), Archibald, Winters (Bailey 60), Dunbar, Dunn.
Elsewhere in the Highland League, Forres Mechanics lost 3-1 at neighbours Nairn County, with Ryan Mackintosh getting the Cans’ goal.
Keith went down by the same scoreline at Huntly, Bruce Milne scoring for the Maroons.
Leaders Brora came from behind to beat Wick 2-1, Formartine were held 1-1 by Inverurie and Deveronvale were 4-0 winners at Turriff.
The Fraserburgh v Cove match was abandoned at half time with Cove leading 2-0, and Clach’s game against Fort William was postponed.