It was Kenny Jackett’s first taste of Pompey’s modern-day rivalry against Plymouth Argyle.
And the Blues boss saluted the gritty performance and ‘different strengths’ his troops displayed as they delivered a 1-0 victory.
The clash at Fratton Park proved to be a scrappy affair but Kal Naismith first League One goal of the season in the 25th minute proved decisive.
It meant the Blues picked up their first victory against the Pilgrims since August 2015.
And they retained the bragging rights after pipping the Devon outfit to the League Two title on the final day of last season.
Derek Adams’ outfit put Pompey under pressure in the closing stages, delivering plenty of long balls and throws into the box.
Jackett’s men stood defiant, however, and the Blues boss saluted his side’s effort to clinch three points.
He said: ‘We had to show different strengths at different times against Plymouth. You always have to.
‘The rivalry feel comes from two very well supported clubs, so it creates an atmosphere that is similar to a Championship game.
‘That was again the case on Saturday. It was a terrific atmosphere for the players to be involved in.
‘Our best period was at the start of the second half. We had a lot of chances in that time.
‘I always felt we needed a second or third goal but they didn’t come.
‘Naismith was a little bit unlucky when he went through to hit the post.
‘After that, we knew Plymouth would come right at us because they have had a good run of late.
‘In the latter stages, my players needed to show a real desire and big heart – a different side of the game.
‘We negated them very well in that period and didn’t give them a real clear-cut chance.
‘There were a lot of long throws coming at us but we showed a lot of heart and commitment.’
Brett Pitman missed Pompey’s second game in a row through his hamstring injury.
As a result, Naismith was selected to spearhead the Blues’ attack.
Conor Chaplin was chosen to fill the number 10 role in behind, as Curtis Main dropped out of the side that lost at Peterborough United on Tuesday night.
It marked the Worthing talent’s first League One start for the best part of three months.
And Jackett’s tactics paid dividends as Naismith took advantage of Pilgrims goalkeeper Remi Matthews’ mistake to prod home the only goal of the game midway through the first period.
The Pompey boss was delighted with the Scot’s contribution.
And he lauded how well he linked up with the Blues’ prized asset, Chaplin.
‘It was a very opportunist goal from Naismith,’ Jackett added.
‘If you don’t close the goalkeeper down and show commitment you don’t get the chance – and he’s done that very well.
‘I was pleased with Kal and for him.
‘He’s linked very well with Conor Chaplin – the pair of them pleased me.
‘We needed to have that goalscoring threat in attack with Brett Pitman out.’