Paul Hartley is looking for his Cove Rangers side to show their resilience after suffering a second defeat of a difficult week.
They followed up their 4-0 midweek trouncing at Falkirk by slumping to another disappointing 2-0 reverse at Hamilton on Saturday.
Cove remain third in League One but trail Accies by 11 points and leaders Falkirk by a huge 20.
Hartley’s men had their fair share of chances in South Lanarkshire but were punished for their lack of killer instinct in front of goal.
The hosts opened the scoring after seven minutes when Lewis Smith capitalised on some slack possession before feeding Kevin O’Hara to slot home.
Accies were reduced to 10 men when Ben Williamson was shown a straight red for a reckless lunge, before Jamie Barjonas doubled their lead with 19 minutes left.
A difficult afternoon was then compounded when Michael Doyle was dismissed after picking up a second yellow.
“I actually thought we had a good performance. We were really good first half, then a mistake puts us behind,” Hartley said.
“That happens but after that I thought it was a really good reaction. We controlled the game in terms of possession and even in the second half we had some good opportunities.
“When they go down to 10 men, we need to play that little bit quicker and little bit more positive.
“I don’t think it was a bad performance but key moments in the game cost us – that’s what happens at this level.
“We got hit with a counter-attack and we’ve got to do better to get out to the ball and block the ball – they certainly defended their box better than what we did.”
Despite falling to defeat twice in the space of five days, Hartley believes that his side are more than capable of picking themselves back up and ending the season strongly.
Going into the double-header against the Bairns and Accies, Cove had lost just one of their previous 14 league encounters.
There is still some work to be done to ensure a promotion play-off spot – though their focus will now shift to the Scottish Cup and a fourth round trip to Brora Rangers this weekend.
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) January 13, 2024
“It’s been hard, we’re missing some key players also – there’s a little bug going about the camp,” Hartley added.
“We’ve had two tough games, we knew they both would be. We have to regroup – we’ve been on a brilliant run for two or three months so it’s about keeping the focus and sticking to what we believe in.
“We’re a couple of players short I think, we’ve got to still bring in one or two if we can – but it’s not an easy window in January.
“We’ll keep working away – if we can stick to the top four between now and the end of the season, we’ll see where we are after that.
“We had a great run, we’ve now got to try to get back on the horse again and get back on a good run.”