Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley was disappointed with his side’s second half display in last night’s 2-2 Betfred Cup draw with Brora Rangers.
The Aberdeen side squandered a two-goal lead against the Highland League champions, after early strikes from Rory McAllister and Jamie Semple had put them in command.
Brora pulled one back through Martin Maclean before half-time, with a late Bjorn Wagenaar free-kick forcing the match to penalties.
Although Cove took the bonus point with a 6-5 shootout triumph thanks to goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie’s winning spot-kick, Hartley felt his side let their standards slip after the interval.
He said: “I thought in the first half we controlled it, but in the second half they were probably a bit more determined than us.
“We didn’t pass it as well – it wasn’t a Cove-like team performance. Even though we created chances we were too loose and didn’t win enough first and second balls.
“I’ve got to give Brora a bit of credit. We should have had three points, but we could have had one point.
“Am I happy with the second half? Certainly not, I think we are better than that and I have said that to the players. It’s not the type of standards Cove produce.”
Hartley took the opportunity to reshuffle his side following Saturday’s narrow 2-1 loss to Hibernian, with McAllister, Semple, Tom Leighton, Broque Watson and Jordon Brown drafted in.
Hartley feels his side is well equipped for Saturday’s League One opener at home to East Fife, adding: “It was an opportunity for players to come in and show they deserve to be in the team. Some did really well, others were a little disappointing.
“I rested a couple of players which was always the plan given the journey. We feel we are well prepared and this is the real test now on Saturday.”
Cove took the lead on 18 minutes when McAllister latched on to a loose pass before slotting home.
They doubled their advantage 10 minutes later through Semple’s strike, but the Cattachs pulled one back 60 seconds later through Maclean’s excellent strike.
Wagenaar’s free-kick on 72 minutes forced the match to penalties, with McKenzie proving Cove’s hero with the winning spot-kick after saving efforts from opposite number Joe Malin and Colin Williamson.