Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley was frustrated after Kelty Hearts came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at the Balmoral Stadium.
Rumarn Burrell’s 20th goal of the season and a Mitch Megginson strike put Cove in command but Kelty responded after the break through goals from on-loan Aberdeen forward Alfie Bavidge and Adam Corbett.
Hartley, whose side travel to League One leaders Falkirk on Tuesday, told the Cove website: “It’s frustrating as we made a great start by going 2-0 up at half-time.
“We spoke to the players at half-time and said that we needed to manage the game now and don’t give them an opportunity.
“Then we gave away a poor goal and lost our way.
“We didn’t match runners or defend the set-plays well.
“Nick Suman made a poor mistake for the first goal that let them in it.
“If we won the game 2-0 it would have been great but we didn’t manage the game.
“There’s one or two players carrying a virus but that’s not an excuse.
“It’s disappointing as we’re normally strong at home.
“When we go a goal or two up we usually win the game – they had opportunities but so did we.
“You can’t just play for 45 minutes, you go in at 2-0 and we were ok but that’s where you’ve got to regroup and have a strong mentality.
“If we need to be horrible to play against then so be it, we were too open at times and gave Kelty too many opportunities.
“The next two games (Falkirk then Hamilton) are big for the club.
“We face the top two and then Brora in the Scottish Cup but the next important game is Falkirk who are on a tremendous run.
“We have to pick a team that will compete as much as possible.”
The hosts took the lead on 15 minutes when ex-Cove goalkeeper Kyle Gourlay saved an initial effort from Michael Doyle before Mark Reynolds clipped the ball into the six-yard area with Burrell converting at the back post.
The prolific Cove striker then turned provider with a run from the halfway line before playing in Megginson to tap home.
Kelty Hearts came out firing after the break and reduced the deficit a couple of minutes after the restart when Bavidge slotted beyond Suman before Corbett headed home from a corner to earn Kelty a share of the spoils.