SPARTANS striker Jack Beesley put a smile on the face of his sick manager with a brace at lowly Hawick.
Boss Dougie Samuel missed his side’s 4-0 win due to a throat infection.
Beesley said: “Dougie wasn’t too well this morning and decided to stay in Edinburgh.
“He’ll be happy with the win as it takes us within a point of second place.
“I’m pleased with my two goals as the conditions were difficult today.
“We’ve had a few slip ups in recent weeks but we are still in with a chance of finishing second.”
Spartans capitalised on the top two, East Kilbride and East Stirlingshire, both being in cup action with Ross Allum and Alan Brown also scoring at Albert park.
Bottom side Preston Athletic couldn’t take advantage of Hawick’s defeat as they went down 2-1 against Gretna - despite taking the lead.
Jason Young had fired the basement boys in front during the first half at the Pennypitt but Ellis Pearson and Scott Norman responded for the visitors after the interval.
Jason Stevens and Blair Atkinson both scored doubles as Vale of Leithen beat Civil Service Strollers 4-2.
Stephen Froud scored both of the home team’s goals before being sent off with quarter of an hour to go.
Vale manager Chris Anderson said: “We reacted well when we went behind and I’m delighted with the way we took our goals.
“We’re on a bit of a run just now and I’m hoping to we can keep this going until the end of the season.”
Darren Smith and Billy Miller were on target for Gala Fairydean Rovers as they close in on a top four finish after beating BSC Glasgow 2-1 at Netherdale.
Paul Keys scored a late consolation for the visitors.
Gala gaffer Steven Noble said: "I thought we controlled the game and deserved the points.
"We have finished the season well and I want us to keep this going over the next few weeks."
In the South Regional Cup East Kilbride crushed Threave Rovers 5-1, East Stirlingshire squeezed past Tynecastle 3-2, Cumbernauld Colts put four past Edinburgh University without reply, and Lothian Thistle beat Whitehill Welfare 2-0.