Russell Dingwall says a nasty injury for Caley Thistle loanee Daniel Mackay only added to the misery of losing to former club Stenhousemuir.
The Inverness 18-year-old suffered a broken ankle in the first half.
Mackay burst on to the scene for the Championship side the season before last, springing from the bench to set up Carl Tremarco’s Challenge Cup winner among 10 appearances.
Dingwall said: “He’s just come out here to try and play games so to get a bad injury like that so early on is gutting for him.
“But he’ll come back stronger.”
Dingwall was disappointed not to put one over Stenny, the team he spent time on loan with last term before release at County in the summer.
He said: “There was not much in the game but they had a couple of chances and managed to take one, which we couldn’t quite do.
“You can’t really say anything about our strikers because they’ve been scoring right, left and centre for us.”
Away captain Andy Munro’s goal won the day at Borough Briggs.
The home front two of Shane Sutherland and Kane Hester, with 15 goals this season between them, barely got a sniff.
Stenny created the first real chance on 20 minutes when Liam Scullion crossed from the right and Stephen Bronsky’s miscued clearance fell to Mark McGuigan who drew a block by keeper Tom McHale.
Sutherland and Hester combined on the half hour to create an opening for Hester, but he shot wide.
MacKay was stretchered off just before the break and City never recovered.
Stenny deservedly went in front after 68 minutes when McGuigan eased the ball back to skipper Munro and the centre-back’s shot took a deflection and trundled in at the far post.
Hester missed a great chance in the final minute when Sutherland picked him out in the six-yard box.
Manager Gavin Price praised his team for their effort in a busy run of matches and in the midst of injury problems.
Darryl McHardy and Owen Loveland have dislocated shoulders, while Connor O’Keefe has damaged ankle ligaments. Midfielder Brian Cameron is out with a knee injury.
Price said: “I’ve deliberately tried not to mention it because it always gives the players an excuse if you keep bringing up the injury woes.
“But the players have been fantastic over this last period. It’s been five games in 14 days, with basically 12 or 13 players to carry us through these games.
“We just didn’t have that wee spark today and the players deserve to have that excuse now because they’ve worked so hard,” he said.