Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon felt he had plenty reasons to smile after his side opened their Irn-Bru Cup defence with a victory on Tuesday night.
Ray has not pretended retaining the trophy his side lifted at Fir Park last term is a major priority as he targets promotion this year.
But he does believe the 2-0 win over Cowdenbeath in front of a small crowd at Tannadice was a worthwhile exercise.
He made 10 changes for the tie and although it was still a strong home line-up, he did give teenagers Harvey Dailly, Logan Chalmers and Graham Taylor starting places.
Late on, three other of his promising youngsters, Louis Appere, Scott Reekie and Archie Thomas also got some game time.
And he was pleased with the contribution they made.
“I thought they all handled the game well,” he said.
“None of them made any big mistakes and they didn’t look out of place in the first team, so that was pleasing.”
The big plus was the two goals summer signing Patrick N’Koyi grabbed in the second half to secure a place in tomorrow’s second-round draw.
And Ray was just as happy to see the Congolese-Dutch striker get 90 minutes as he plays catch-up with his fitness levels following a late start to pre-season and then an enforced break through injury.
“I think you could see in the first half that Patrick was still a bit rusty and things weren’t coming off for him.
“He got stronger in the second half, though, and he took both his goals very well.
“I think the team as a whole was better after the break when we were more direct and picked up the pace of the game.”
Ray was also pleased to get a look at Jordie Briels as he switched from midfield to right-back and Scott Allardice, another midfielder who was moved to a fresh position.
“Jordie told us he could play full-back as well as midfield and I thought he looked comfortable there. He gives us another option.
“And Scott fitted in beside Paul Quinn at centre-half.
“He hasn’t played there too often before, so in terms of the defensive side he’s got a bit to learn.
“But the way he uses the ball when he has time to is impressive and it’s a position he can play as well as in midfield.”