Cove Rangers manager Jim McIntyre was scathing of his side’s performance in their 3-2 League Cup defeat to Kelty Hearts.
Goals from Alfredo Agyeman and Robbie McNab had the League 2 champions 2-0 up in the first half, before Fraser Fyvie pulled a goal back for Cove.
McIntyre’s side fared a little better in the second half and Nathan Austin added a third goal to earn Kelty a deserved victory. Robbie Leitch’s late goal did not spark a dramatic salvage job.
The Aberdeen side finish their campaign away to unbeaten group leaders Caley Thistle on Saturday.
“It’s not good enough to be quite honest,” said McIntyre. “There were several things we did well in the game but what we didn’t do well was the basics.
“There were too many times where we got cut through and we need to be better than that. It’s quite plain to see.
“I thought Kelty were the better side and deserved their victory. They could quite possibly have scored a goal or two more.
“In saying that, I don’t think the referee gave us much. There were one or two poor decisions, one in the lead up to one of the goals which I thought was a foul on Gerry.
“It’s a definite penalty on Mark Reynolds at the end – he’s been hauled to the ground – but we need to be so much better.
‘We need to be tighter as a team’
“You see strange results in this competition all the time and there was more last night. We need to be better all over the pitch, whether it’s decision-making on the ball or winning one-v-one duels, which I don’t think we did.
“We need to get back to being tighter as a team and making sure we’re not giving teams easy chances.”
Cove were behind after 16 minutes, with Agyeman finding space for himself just inside the box and curling the ball beyond Kyle Gourlay.
It was 2-0 seven minutes later as Agyeman and Joe Cardle combined to tee up McNab, who kept his cool to finish under the goalkeeper.
The home side finally gave themselves something to shout about when Fyvie steered a cross from Leighton McIntosh back across goal into the far corner.
Cove had Gourlay to thank for keeping the score at 2-1 at the interval as he denied Nathan Austin from the spot, after Iain Vigurs had pulled down McNab.
Austin swept in a Cardle cross with 20 minutes ago to stretch Kelty’s advantage again before substitute Leitch pulled back a late consolation.
There was some concern late on when Mark Reynolds had to be helped from the field after going down in the Kelty area, while trying to rescue an equaliser.
“He’s OK, it’s not a concussion,” added McIntyre. “Shay’s over-head kick has caught him. He had a couple of cuts on his ear so there was quite a lot of blood.
“With 30 seconds or left, we just wanted to get him off to make sure he was alright.”