Paul Hegarty gave his players all due credit for their patience and resolve in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Brora Rangers.
Goals from Scott Johnston, Marvin Andrews and Garry Wood gave the Gable Endies a 3-2 aggregate victory against the Highland League champions and retained the club’s status as a Scottish Professional Football League club.
Hegarty said their opponents gave a great account of themselves over the two legs, proving the quality of their division.
The manager said: “Obviously you’re very happy to be staying in the SPFL. You’ve got to feel for Brora, they took us right to the wire. I thought they could have had one or two penalties, and their manager graciously admitted we could have had one. The way they came and played shows how good Highland League football is.
“We were fortunate in the first leg because we didn’t play well at all. The boys were extremely patient, especially when it went to 1-1. You hammer it into players to keep it nice and tight after half-time but what happens, they score off a free kick. But the boys rallied around and I have to give them a lot of credit for this performance.
“The most important thing for the club, the town is that we’ve got SPFL football next season. I’m far more delighted for them than I am for myself.
“I think it’s a wake-up call. I said on numerous occasions, these play-offs are a great thing. Too many clubs for too long have been trundling along and being happy to stay in the league. If teams aren’t at their best they could be 10th and that happened to us. We don’t want it to happen again.”