Inverurie Locos manager Andy Low is determined to bridge the gap between his side and Highland League leaders Brora Rangers in the future.
The Railwaymen lost 4-0 to the Cattachs at Dudgeon Park on Saturday and now sit third in the table, 11 points behind Brora having played a game more.
Garioch gaffer Low admits their title challenge is gone for this season but wants to be able to compete with the likes of Brora and second-placed Fraserburgh in campaigns to come.
He said: “It’s a sore one and there is a gap between ourselves and Brora and it showed.
“But I know the things we need to work on.
“I feel we are in the next bracket after Brora and Fraserburgh and we want to bridge that gap.
“It will come from hard work.
“We have a good group of young lads and they are the club’s future so they need to learn from games like this.”
Greg Morrison fired Brora ahead with Jordan MacRae getting a first-half brace before Andrew Macrae’s second-half counter completed the scoring.
Low added: “It was a strange first half because I don’t think either side played that well.
“But both teams created a lot of chances.
“We went in at half-time 3-0 down and I was disappointed with how the guys defended.
“But we’d had about six chances in the first half and didn’t take them and Brora had about four chances and took three of them.
“The first half was frustrating because at no point did I feel Brora were the better team.
“But the second half was different because Brora were in control and managed the game well.
“It is about taking chances and although we had a lot of chances Brora seem to manage to keep a lot of clean sheets.
“That’s something we need to work on so that if we’re not taking our chances we need to ensure we’re not giving anything away.”
For Inverurie the aim for the rest of the season is to finish as high as possible.
Low said: “I felt our chances of winning the league were over a couple of weeks ago. But there’s still a position to fight for whether it’s a second or third.
“The league is over for us and I know it’s a difficult thing to say when there are plenty of games to play, but we need to be realistic.
“For us now it’s about finishing as high as possible.”