Harry Milne reckons the 6-1 thumping Cove Rangers took from Annan Athletic gave them a “kick up the backside”.
It was just their second defeat as a League 2 club and came when they were flying high at the top of the division.
They had travelled to Galabank with an under-strength squad, with just two outfield substitutes.
Milne and fellow defender Daniel Higgins went off injured during the game and midfielder Declan Glass was later sent off.
Fellow title-contenders Edinburgh City beat them the following week but Cove have steadied the ship, with five consecutive victories that have seen their gap at the summit extend to five points over City.
They face Annan in a rematch at the Balmoral Stadium tomorrow, with Milne set on helping Cove put things right.
He said: “It gave us a kick up the backside and a reminder that if we’re not on it, teams in this league will punish you.
“That was a day everything went for them and not for us. It was definitely a point in the season that proved we’re not going to get things our own way.
“Both myself and Dan got injured – it was just one of those days. I’ve been working hard to get back to playing and Dan has done the same.
“Since then our focus has been a lot better and the quality of performances have been a lot better.
“We feel like we’re back to our best and would love to put one over them.”
Annan occupy the last of the play-off spots but have lost their last three games, all to teams vying for end-of-season berths.
Cove’s business on the field has them in a strong position heading into the second half of the campaign and the club are not resting on their laurels, with three additions strengthening the squad.
Defender Tom Leighton signed as a free agent, teenage midfielder Josh Mulligan joined on loan from Dundee and the most high-profile of the trio, Rory McAllister, arrived from Peterhead last week.
Milne added: “The signings have been good.
“We’ve lost good players, like Declan Glass, who scored some quality goals for us. Josh is a good, physical young player and Rory needs no real introduction.
“We know what quality Rory has. I can’t speak for the club, but I imagine he would have been someone that was on their radar for a few years but being in the Highland League, we weren’t able to attract him.
“It’s a sign of how far the club has come that they can attract that calibre of player.
“It’s the same with Fraser Fyvie – it shows just how strong the squad is now.”
All is set now for Cove to make a real push for back-to-back promotions in the second half of the season.
Milne said: “We’ve proved so far the squad is good enough to play at a higher level.
“But there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done between now and the end of the season. We need to keep pushing each other to get better and have quality in all areas of the pitch. We want to be five points clear at the end of the season, not halfway through.
“It’s been looking like just us and Edinburgh City for a few months now, so nothing changes in that sense for us.”