Dundee boss James McPake hailed his side’s 3-0 victory over Cove Rangers despite admitting they “made hard work of it at times”.
The Dens gaffer said his side’s performance that sent them top of Betfred Cup Group B was their best of the campaign so far.
Late goals from Danny Mullen and Charlie Adam added to Paul McGowan’s early opener as the Dark Blues saw off a Cove side that were reduced to nine men.
Paul Hartley’s League One leaders played the last 36 minutes two men light but it took until the 84th minute for Mullen to settle any nerves for the home side after Adam has missed a first-half penalty.
“It was convincing in the end,” said McPake.
“We made hard work of it at times. But we got what we set out to get. We had a look at the group table, we’ve got nine points, and we go to Easter Road on Sunday with a chance of going through to the next round. That’s all we were asking for.
“We did make hard work of it. If the first penalty goes in, then the night becomes a lot easier a lot earlier, but we showed character to keep going. Sometimes it is tough when teams lose a man. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been a manager and a team has lost two men and it became even tougher.
“Credit to Cove and credit to Paul. Their team battled for them and I think they showed real character and real strength as a group. That’s why I think they’re a really good side and Paul will be successful there.”
After being frustrated with the goals conceded by his team at Alloa on Friday night, McPake was delighted with the response from his side.
“I am really pleased with the performance,” he added.
“We were better when it was 11 v 11 and we moved the ball really well. We played through the lines and got in really dangerous positions.
“It was the best we’ve been this season. I know we scored three the other night but going forward that’s as slick as we’ve been this season and defensively we were lot better.
“Massive credit to Cammy Kerr because it wasn’t easy against two good strikers in Mitch Megginson and then Rory McAllister.
“Jordan McGhee put in his best performance of the season as well.”
Former Dens boss Hartley, meanwhile, was pleased with his team’s efforts with nine men but was unhappy with two “harsh” sendings off.
He said: “It was strange. The sending offs are a little bit harsh.
“Blair’s was a soft shoulder – very rarely do you see that given as a penalty given against you. But the players never gave up, we were still right in the game at 1-0 with 15 minutes to go.
“The scoreline maybe looks bad but our players kept going right to the end.”