After a great first quarter of the season Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley says he can’t be too critical after their first loss in League Two.
The Granite City outfit lost in Scottish League football for the first time on Saturday as Stenhousemuir won 3-2 at Ochilview.
The Highland League champions made the perfect start, taking the lead after just three minutes with Jamie Masson finding the net.
However, the lead lasted just six minutes with David Marsh replying for Stenny.
Davie Irons’ men hit the front midway through the first period as David Hopkirk hit the net and Mark McGuigan’s penalty made the score 3-1 at half-time.
Martin Scott scored Cove’s second in the 88th minute, but they couldn’t find an equaliser.
After nine games Hartley’s side are top of League Two with 22 points in their maiden SPFL season.
The Balmoral Stadium gaffer, pictured, said: “I was pleased with a lot of aspects of the game. We’re disappointed with the result because of the standards we’ve set.
“But if you look at the possession and attempts we had on goal it was something like 65% possession and 18 attempts.
“I know that doesn’t win you games, but they were positives aspects.
“We got a great start going a goal up and then we conceded sloppy goals.
“But I can’t be too critical of the players because it’s been a magnificent first quarter.
“Our points tally is more than I perhaps thought it would have been.
“It’s been a really good first quarter. We’ve been excellent and the players and staff deserve all the credit for their hard work.
“Coming into a league full of good teams we were never sure how it was going to turn out.
“But we’ve done well and we’re ready to go again for the next quarter.
“It’s football and what’s happen if you lose a game? You’ve got to bounce back.
“We’ve got a break next week and then we’ll try to bounce back.
“Every teams suffers a setback. It’s new to us and new to the team, but we’ll be fine and ready to go for the second quarter.”
Personally Hartley says he has loved his time with Cove so far.
The former Aberdeen, Celtic Hearts and Scotland midfielder returned to management after he was appointed boss in July.
Reflecting on the first three months in the job, Hartley added: “I’ve loved it. I’ve never enjoyed football so much.
“Since we came in in July the months have passed very quickly but that’s been down to enjoying the football.
“I’ve loved working with the players and everyone at the club – there’s a really good vibe about the place.
“I couldn’t be any happier. I’m loving football again.”