Allan Moore’s fresh new lineup exploded onto Gayfield like a recoiled spring on Saturday, showing the new squad’s potent capability.
Pulling themselves from the ashes of a disastrous season they nailed their position at the top with a 3-1 win against Montrose.
Bobby Linn’s eagle eye and speed picked up Paul McManus’s ball for the crowd-pleasing first goal in the 13th minute.
The veteran pair showed the benefit of their experience challenging the well-matched Montrose team throughout the match.
The strong start just got better as Kevin Buchan converted Scott McBride’s cross to double the advantage.
Goaded by the increasing goals against them, the Gable Endies surged towards the Lichties end. But ‘keeper David Crawford stepped in with a number of competent punches to clear the danger.
A foul by Garry Wood on Crawford earned him a yellow card in the 38th minute. Crawford fought on but three minutes later had to be replaced by Scott Morrison due to injury.
Manager Allan Moore said: “He’s tweaked his knee and we don’t know how serious it is yet. It didn’t help that he came and kicked bottles about in the dugout but that shows how much they want it.”
Montrose’s Steven Robb used the change to his advantage but his left-footed shot from outside the box missed narrowly.
Half time: Arbroath 2, Montrose 0.
Montrose emerged for the second half ready to attack. However, attempts by Wood, Stephen O’Neill and Paul Watson failed to convert, leaving it wide open for Simon Murray to make his scoring debut against his former club.
Murray took his time and deftly applied some fancy footwork to fox ‘keeper Stuart McKenzie before taking a shot from the centre of the box, sending the ball whistling into the top left corner.
He said: “It was the best feeling, scoring a goal, especially against our rivals and to get the three points is just brilliant.”
Graham Webster scored a consolation goal for Montrose but frustration showed as Declan O’Kane was then sent off in injury time for serious foul play on Murray.
Moore was satisfied with the result, showing only a chink of disappointment to concede a goal.
He said: “We should have scored more goals but that comes down to getting a lead in the first half and giving them too much possession. I am disappointed by the goal we lost as we were trying to keep a clean sheet.”
Moore’s a tough leader but there seems to be no shortage of respect in the dressing room. Moore said: “Paul McManus has been outstanding for me since I came here. His work rate is tremendous, the way he conducts himself at the club is brilliant. If you’ve got a good character in the dressing room, and we’ve got plenty, you can’t go wrong.” Long may it continue.