Albion Rovers boss Brian Reid says his side should take confidence from their 4-1 SPFL Trust Trophy Cup defeat at Cove Rangers, because they more than matched their hosts for 79 minutes.
Rovers travelled north to the League One side for a third-round tie and Reid says he thought the game was going to penalties, before the wheels fell off.
An ankle injury to Lewis Wilson in the troublesome left-back position forced him off and he was replaced by Aldin El-Zubaidi, as Sean Fagan moved to left-back.
Paul Hartley’s side then took control and Mitch Megginson opened the scoring in 79 minutes, with Rory McAllister netting in 82 and 89 minutes, either side of a Jamie Masson header, before sub Max Wright grabbed a last-gasp consolation for Rovers.
Reid said: “I was disappointed to lose four goals in a nine-minute spell, which I couldn’t see coming, but if you switch off against these teams and don’t do the basics right, they’ve got quality players that can punish you.
“Unfortunately every time they had a shot it seemed to go in, but that is certainly no reflection on the game.
“If it had been a 0-0 draw people would have said we deserved it.
“A 4-1 makes it look as if we were well beat, but that’s not the case at all.
“We created chances; we had a couple of really good chances in the first half and probably should have been ahead.
“We didn’t take them, and once they got the first goal you could see it gave them a lift.
“Up until 79 minutes I thought we were as good as them. At that point I turned to my assistant Scott (Mackenzie) and said ‘this goes straight to penalties’ because I couldn’t see us losing a goal.
“Unfortunately we had to make some personnel changes, Lewis Wilson going off with an ankle knock was a major blow for us, and that upsets the whole system with the back four, who had been solid up until that point.
“No disrespect to them, but I think the subs changed the whole way we were going, and we had been really good up until that stage.”
However, Reid says taking that performance into Saturday’s home match against Elgin City could see them move above their visitors in League Two, and he says that’s the incentive.
Reid said: “I’m pleased with how we played for 79 minutes and if we can play like that going into the league games, then I certainly think we’ll win more than we’ll lose.
“Every game is big for us. It’s still early in the season but we’re just over the first quarter now, and we really need to start turning performances round, taking our chances, and getting results.
“The game turns on goals, and we need to start taking our chances.
“If we can start to do that again, like we did in the early part of the season, I think it will breathe confidence into the team and I can see us starting to win games from that.
“But we need to start punishing teams when we’re on top.”