Paul Hartley hailed his Cove Rangers side for going toe-to-toe with Championship opponents Dundee in their Betfred Cup tie.
The sides finished goal-less after 90 minutes and it took a penalty shootout for Dundee to triumph 3-2.
Hartley said: “The boys were excellent – I couldn’t have asked for any more of them. The penalties are what they are, a bit of a lottery. The players have got to be happy how they performed. If we can just take care of a couple of things we’ll be OK.
“Overall we more than matched them. They went toe-to-toe with them. We knew in spells we wouldn’t have the ball so we had to work hard and we did. We caused them problems. They had an opportunity with the header in the first half but overall, we can be pleased with how we played.”
Hartley handed a debut to Daniel Higgins, who signed for the club on Tuesday, and recalled Jimmy Scott from suspension to replace the injured Mitch Megginson.
He added: “Daniel did very well. He was comfortable and composed. Jimmy did well up front where we’re short of bodies. I couldn’t ask for any more from the players – we knew it was a tough group. We’re hopeful we can get one or two more in before the Edinburgh City game.”
His Dark Blues counterpart James McPake was less than impressed with his side’s display at the Balmoral Stadium, in which he came up against his former boss Hartley.
McPake said: “We certainly lacked any sort of rhythm and any sort of quality. I won’t criticise them on effort and application because it’s been there from day one. But on the ball we were poor.
“It’s not a wake-up call because it’s just the start of the season but it was a poor performance.”