Greg Mitchell blasted Inverurie Locos’ display after they drew 0-0 with Buckie Thistle.
The Railwaymen left Victoria Park with a point, despite the Jags having the better chances.
The result moves Locos nine points clear of Rothes in second place, albeit having played five games more.
Defender Mitchell insists Inverurie’s performance wasn’t up to scratch and said: “From our point of view I don’t think our performance was good enough.
“I thought Buckie were the better team and deserved to win the game.
“It’s 0-0 so we probably defended not too badly – but apart from that it wasn’t good enough.
“The manager said after the game that it wasn’t good enough and as players we all know it wasn’t good enough.
“We want to be going to Victoria Park and winning the game and if you want to be up there challenging at the top of the league you need to.
“But we didn’t and we need to move on quickly.”
With five games left Locos still believe they can finish second and Mitchell added: “We’ve got five games left now and the target is to win all five and set ourselves up for next season, but we’ll need to be better.
“The manager Andy Low and Steven Park have said we’re trying to build for next season.
“But we’ve still got second to play for and we need to try to finish there.”
Buckie started on the front foot with Sam Urquhart prodding Marcus Goodall’s cross from the right narrowly wide.
Inverurie keeper Andy Reid twice denied Kyle Macleod in the first half, but Reid’s best save was to claw away an Andrew MacAskill strike from the edge of the box that appeared destined for the top corner.
The visitors’ best opportunity of the first 45 minutes was when Neil McLean played in Kyle Gordon, but the striker’s effort was smothered by Jags custodian Daniel Bell.
After the break Angus shot wide from a Mitchell cross, but it was a vital intervention from Mitchell midway through the second half that kept the game goalless as he cleared Jack Murray’s header from a MacAskill corner.
After Steven Ross headed straight at Reid, Angus shot tamely at Bell at the other end after galloping on to Ryan Stott’s through ball.
In the closing stages Scott Adams and Murray both had efforts just off target as Buckie looked for a winner.
Boss Low said: “It could be an important point for us, we didn’t play well and still managed to hold them, whereas Buckie will feel they played really well and couldn’t beat us.
“That is positive – but it’s not enough for me. I’m one of these people who expect Locos to be doing a lot more. We need to be on the front foot trying to win that game, not just accepting a point, but we didn’t look like a team that wanted to win that game.
“I thought we were poor and Buckie were the better side for the 90 minutes, we were slightly better in the second half but Buckie bossed the game from start to finish. I’m disappointed with the all-round performance.
“The positives for me were my goalkeeper and two centre-halves and that tells its own story.
“We scraped a draw and we’ll take it. The positive was a clean sheet but we have a lot of work to do.”