Aberdeen under-20s manager Paul Sheerin was taking positives from their Irn-Bru Cup exit.
The young Dons lost 4-2 to Championship Inverness Caley Thistle at Brechin’s Glebe Park to exit at the second round stage for the second year in a row.
Riccardo Calder, Liam Polworth and David Raven had Caley 3-0 up at half-time. Seb Ross pulled a goal back for the Reds before Carl Tremarco made it 4-1 and Bruce Anderson rounded off the scoring late on.
Aberdeen’s Frank Ross and Thistle’s Charlie Trafford were both sent off.
Boss Sheerin saw plenty of encouraging signs from his young team.
He said: “I thought at 3-0 we were a wee bit flat and struggled a wee bit and half-time came at a good time for us and it was good we didn’t concede any more in the first-half.
“I was keen for us to win the second half and we did that.
“We started the game brightly but when you lose goals against good teams it’s hard to get out of the bit.
“Their keeper makes an unbelievable save from Bruce Anderson at 1-0 and if that goes in it might just give the boys a boost and get them up again and get them going.
“It was a tough first-half after the initial start to the game but from the second-half point of view I thought they were excellent to a man, I thought they were aggressive, I thought in terms of their pressing they were a lot more purposeful.
“The two goals they scored were great. Seb Ross’s was scruffy but it was through an absolute desire just to get the ball back and he gets his reward for that.
“Bruce Anderson showed his composure and quality with his goal as well.”
On Anderson, who will now head to League Two Elgin City on-loan, Sheerin added: “From his point of view playing against two Championship centre-halfs has got to give him a boost.
“He was excellent, he was a pest and he got his reward with his goal.”