Elgin City boss Gavin Price will not allow his players to feel sorry for themselves after a first-half slump against Ayr United cost them their Scottish Cup place.
The Championship side scored all four of their goals in the first 25 minutes, with Joe Chalmers, Michael Moffat and Luke McCowan (two) all finding the net.
Price believes it came as a shock to the system for his side, who only returned to competitive action on Saturday after more than two months out.
He said: “It was a shock to the system in the first half. I’m disappointed on our part, but I also have to praise Ayr United. I’ve watched them a few times – they’re a completely different side to the last time I saw them.
“We really didn’t get to grips with it in the first half. We couldn’t react to it. There were a lot of errors in that which could have been prevented.
“Mentally we weren’t strong enough in the first half and that’s unlike us.
“The team that finished against Stenhousemuir in December would not have lost four goals to Ayr United. We can all look in the mirror and say ‘how can we sharpen ourselves up?’
“There’s no point feeling sorry for ourselves. The only way to fix things is to do what we can off the pitch to get ourselves sharp for Saturday.”
Chalmers clipped Ayr in front inside five minutes and then Moffat slid home after Thomas McHale had parried Tom Walsh’s shot.
Rory MacEwan was caught in possession to allow McCowan to get the first of his two goals, with Cammy Smith laying the second on a plate for him before the half-hour mark.
Josh Peters and Smart Osadolor had shots at goal late in the second half for the hosts, but, by then, the damage had been done.
Price added: “The positives are it’s another 90 minutes for the team and substitutes have told me they want to play. A few of them probably will play. I’m pleased with that reaction because that’s what you need.
“We’ll be training with a smaller group on Thursday because of injuries and travel restrictions for the south guys. So we’ll pick a team on Saturday that’s up for the challenge.”