Martin Allen could not have hoped for a better 47th birthday present after his Gillingham side beat Bristol City 2-1 in the Capital One Cup.
The visiting manager was understandably delighted after seeing his side out-battle and, at times, outplay the Championship side.
"It was a quiet day for me and all the excitement was about tonight," Allen said.
"Having worked with the players for six weeks, I know that nothing we did was by accident.
"The players have been doing three sessions a day and the staff have been joining in too. It has been tough, but no-one has complained.
"I thought before the game we would win and there is no question that we deserved it. I will freshen things up for our opening league game because tonight was exhausting as well as exciting for the lads.
"I still think we can play better and I still intend to add more new signings. Anything can happen in cup competitions and the league will be an entirely different matter."
Danny Kedwell shot the Gills ahead from the penalty spot in first-half injury-time.
City skipper Liam Fontaine was penalised for handball on the ground after Kedwell's 25-yard free-kick, awarded for a foul by Stephen Pearson, had been fumbled by Dean Gerken.
Kedwell did not pass up the second opportunity and drilled his spot-kick into the bottom corner, beating Gerken's dive to his right.
The advantage was doubled nine minutes into the second half when City went to sleep at a right-wing corner and Tom Flanagan headed down for Ben Strevens to shoot in from six yards.
It was not until well into six minutes of injury-time that substitute Marvin Elliott headed City's consolation from a Brett Pitman free kick.
City manager Derek McInnes was honest in his summing up.
"It was an unacceptable performance for large parts of the game," he said.
"We were not outplayed, but we were out-battled and that is sometimes the worst thing you have to accept as a player.
"Full credit to Gillingham. Pre-season is well and truly over for us now and it's down to business after a harsh lesson.
"We have lost the chance of much-needed cup revenue as well as the other things a cup run can produce. I made it clear how important I viewed the fixture and we fielded a strong team.
"That makes the performance all the harder to accept. Every player has put his place in jeopardy for the weekend.
"I don't go in for knee-jerk reactions, but it goes without saying that we have to improve greatly on that display."