Peterhead manager Jim McInally said his men were comfortable winners against Montrose in the League 1 play-off semi-final second leg but warned the job is not yet done.
After the teams shared two goals in the first match, the Blue Toon dominated at Balmoor, with Rory McAllister scoring in each half and Jordon Brown adding a late third.
McInally, whose team now face a Forfar double-header in their quest to stay in Scotland’s third tier, said: “I am pleased but, as I said to the players, they will not be getting any pats on the back from me because we should not be in this position and they have two more games to try and redeem the season.”
Peterhead made the breakthrough in the 34th minute, a Jamie Stevenson corner breaking for Nicky Riley who clipped the ball to the far post for McAllister to send a close range header into the net.
The Blue Toon doubled their lead in the 52nd minute from the penalty spot after Matty Allan fouled Riley. McAllister coolly converted the spot-kick, sending Allan Fleming the wrong way, to net his 25th goal of the season.
Any hopes of a Montrose comeback were effectively over in the 69th minute when Matty Smith was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Riley near the touchline.
The hosts put the seal on a comfortable victory in stoppage time when Brown nodded in from a few yards out from McAllister’s pick-out.
Gable Endies gaffer Stewart Petrie had no complaints, saying: “I thought we contained and frustrated Peterhead.
“We lost our way after falling behind and ultimately they are stronger than us and the better team won on the day.”