Manager Paul Hartley heaped praise on a Cove Rangers showing which saw them go toe-to-toe with hybrid Airdrieonians at the Penny Cars Stadium.
The part-time Granite City side went in at half-time 1-0 up after a sumptuous opening 45 minutes which was capped by Jamie Masson’s goal.
A strike from Thomas Robert, son of famed French international Laurent, secured a point for the home side, who operate a full-time/part-time hybrid model.
However, Hartley thinks promoted Cove, who have dropped to second in League One, a single point behind full-time Falkirk, have built a vital confidence in the first six games of the season after showing they can compete with the division’s big-hitters.
He said: “I’m really pleased with the performance. In the first half we were absolutely outstanding.
“Some of the play – we could have went in at half-time maybe two up or three up.
“Some of it was magnificent.
“Airdrie at home and we controlled the game.
“We knew Airdrie would come back into it in the second half and we’re disappointed to lose the goal, but overall I’m really pleased with how we played, and it’s not a bad point for us.”
Boss Hartley, who led Cove to the League Two title last term, added: “We’ve played the three clubs with full-time players so far, and we’ve not looked out of place.
“We’ve shown in every game we’re a good team.
“Overall, away from home you take the point, but, with the way we played in the first half, we certainly could’ve had the three points.
“You test yourself against what you’re up against – Airdrie, Falkirk and Partick are the clubs everybody’s talking about in League One.
“But we’ve played with freedom and we’ve more than matched them. We’ve really competed well against them.
“It just shows you – We know when we play these teams that we can play well.
“We’ve got good players and we’ve shown that in the first six games – it’s been a good solid start to the season.”
Cove’s goal against Airdrie reflected their footballing philosophy, with the 26th-minute move starting at the feet of goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie and ending with captain Mitch Megginson teeing up Masson to slot home for his first goal of the campaign.
Hartley admitted to a little bit of disappointment Cove were not able to add to their tally, before Falkirk came back into the game after the break. Robert netted from range on 56 minutes.
On Cove’s opener, Hartley said: “Great football. We built it from the back and then Mitch plays a magnificent ball across the face. Mass just passes it into the net.
“It was a real team goal.
“Airdrie’s goal was a great goal to be fair. It was a great strike, Stuart’s got a hand to it, but it’s flown into the top corner.
“We’re disappointed not to close the ball down better.
“When you go away from home you can’t always dominate for 90 minutes and we knew it.
“Sometimes you need the second goal and we didn’t manage to get that, but we created enough opportunities.”