Cove Rangers manager Paul Hartley wants his side to tighten up at the back after their 4-4 draw away to Albion Rovers in League Two.
The Granite City team surrendered a 3-1 half-time lead. They had been 1-0 down after two minutes, but battled back with Harry Milne, Jamie Masson and Declan Glass all adding to their tallies for the season.
However, Albion flipped the game on its head after the break and the visitors eventually had to depend on a late goal from skipper Mitch Megginson to save them from losing 4-3.
The draw was enough to keep Cove at the top of the table, but Hartley knows they would have won at the Reigart Stadium if they had defended better in the second period.
“It was a classic game of two halves,” said Paul.
“The first half was excellent, we could have been five or six-one up at the end of that.
“But we were awful in the second half.
“We didn’t match them for determination and there wasn’t enough fight in us.
“We didn’t pass the ball as well as we normally do either.
“We spoke at half-time about managing the game, dealing with how we knew they would react to being 3-1 down.
“But we didn’t handle how they played and that’s something the players are going to have to learn from.
“It’s what it’s going to be like in a lot of games away from home in this league.”
Despite his frustration, Hartley will not be too hard on his side. The promoted Highland League champions are, of course, yet to lose in two matches at Scottish league level.
He said: “I’m not going to go overboard, let’s not forget we didn’t lose at what is always a tough venue, are still top of the league and have scored nine goals in our first two games at this level.
“But you can’t defend like we did in that second half and expect to win matches. I wasn’t in the dressing room at the end ranting and raving because the players know that themselves.
“Ranting wouldn’t help anyone.
“All I’ve asked is that they learn to be a bit more streetwise when we are on the road.
“We know we can score goals and have real quality in the final third.
“But there is a concern there about what we do at the other end after this match.
“We have to sort that out because we know we are capable of much better.
“We have another tough game tomorrow (away to Brora Rangers in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup), so we will need to be ready for that and up for showing what happened in this one was a one off.”