Peterhead manager Jim McInally was left to rue a lack of ruthlessness in attack as his side were beaten 3-0 by Inverness Caley Thistle in the Irn-Bru Cup third round.
Despite the Blue Toon enjoying plenty of possession and dictating for spells, they could not turn pressure into goals and exited the Challenge Cup at the Caledonian Stadium.
Liam Polworth opened the scoring in the second minute, Ricky Calder made it 2-0 on 51 minutes and Daniel Mackay rounded off the scoring for John Robertson’s Championship team in stoppage time.
Balmoor boss McInally was disappointed his team were not more clinical going forward after having plenty of the ball.
He said: “I just found it really strange that we had so much possession.
“In fact sometimes we had too much possession and we kept getting caught with counter-attacks
“We played some really good football and then when we were getting to the edge of the box we were trying to walk it in instead of shooting.
“We had lots of good opportunities and we were trying to slip people in. “I just think we were knocking it about that well that we felt we could score the perfect goal.
“It’s hard to explain. It was almost something that needed to be seen to be believed, that was how much control we had of the game.
“That is pretty bizarre in the circumstances because we were playing a team so far above us.
“We take something out of it as far as it was a good performance.
“But we really needed to get more shots away and try to be a bit more clinical.”
When asked if the Buchan outfit were left with a feeling of “what might have been” McInally added: “Of course we’re wondering.
“To go in at half-time 1-0 was harsh and then they scored six minutes into the second half and it gave us a big mountain to climb.
“I think if we’d got a chance to ask them a real question at 1-0 with scoring a goal it would have been interesting.
“That’s what happens when you do have a lot of the ball like we had and then you lose it.
“When you are playing against a team at higher level they punish you and are clinical.
“That was what happened, they broke on us quickly.
“In the second half goalkeeper Greg Fleming had two really good saves, but up until about 70 minutes he had only one save to make. Even the goal they scored early on was a deflection.”
McInally was also disappointed to lose goals early in both halves which put the Blue Toon on the back foot, but stressed there had been many fine performance from his players.
He said: “Losing the early goal did put us on the back foot in the first half, up until about 10 minutes. I felt we were chasing the game, but then we started to settle into the game and we had some terrific performances.
“Simon Ferry especially, and I thought Jack Leitch had his best game for us since he signed. But Simon was just different class.
“I said to the players before the game that whatever they did to try to take something good out of the game, and they can be proud of how they performed.”