Paul Hartley reckons Cove Rangers can come back stronger for their League One play-off heartache this season.
Cove lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs to Airdrieonians after extra-time, having been leading in stoppage-time after the 90-minute mark.
It is now three weeks down the line from that loss, which brought to an end an impressive debut campaign in the third tier. Cove finished third and were in title contention heading into the split.
Airdrieonians went on to face Morton in the play-off final, with the Cappielow side winning 4-0 on aggregate to retain their place in the Championship.
With another season of improvement the target for Cove and Hartley, the former Scotland international hopes the squad can learn from how their campaign ultimately ended.
He said: “It was a sore one to take for the first few days but I still think, overall, the season was good for us.
“It was just that little period where we couldn’t get the result we wanted. We can all learn from it – it was a sore one but we’ll move on and look forward to the season ahead.
“The players know that we just came short in the end. If you look at the season overall, we had a good season for our first campaign in League One.
“It’s not an easy league and we had all the stops and starts as well. We’ve got a lot of quality and we know next season is going to be a longer campaign with more games, so we’ve got to keep our consistency levels as much as we can.”
Cove will be joined in League One this season by Queen’s Park, who come up as champions of League Two, and Alloa Athletic following their relegation from the Championship.
Both clubs will be under new management, with Laurie Ellis stepping up to replace Ray McKinnon at Lesser Hampden and Barry Ferguson swapping newly-promoted Kelty Hearts for Alloa.
Throw in the challenges of Airdrieonians and Montrose, plus a rebuilt Falkirk, and another entertaining season in League One lies in store.
Hartley added: “We’ve had a good consistency about us but it’s a new season, so we’ll have new challenges ahead. The league is going to be tough again so we’ve got to make sure we compete as best we can. It’s not always easy.
“Queen’s will be ambitious, Airdrie are full-time, Falkirk are full-time. Montrose are still in the league and they’re very consistent. It’s going to be difficult – we know that.”