Peterhead boss Jim McInally insists his players will have to recover after missing out on the League Two title following Stirling Albion’s equaliser with the last kick of the ball.
Jack Leitch’s first-half opener had the Blue Toon on course for glory at Balmoor in front of 1,371 fans, but sub Peter MacDonald levelled in the third minute of injury-time.
With Clyde beating Queen’s Park 3-0 the Buchan side still need a point against the Spiders on Saturday at Hampden to win the title.
McInally said: “We’re just devastated. We go from having a throw-in in the corner.
“We work it back and then slash it out of the park. We couldn’t defend a long diagonal and we get done with a goal.
“It’s their second shot in the game and they score and it’s the second home game in a row it’s happened to us.
“We haven’t been able to see games away. We’ve had 19 shots at goal and didn’t take our chances.
“We’re vulnerable when it gets to that stage of the game only one goal up. We can’t dress it up, we’re gutted.
“Somehow we need to pick the players up.
“It was hard to pick them up two weeks ago against Albion Rovers because drawing with them was a sore one and they bounced back against Elgin.
“They just need to do that next week and where else to do it than Hampden on a fantastic pitch in beautiful condition?
“They’ve got every chance to go there and get it done.
“I didn’t say anything after the game, I didn’t speak to them. what’s the point?
“There’s nothing to be gained by criticising people. One or two were having a go at each other and we put a stop to that.
“You’re there as a team so there’s no point because you need to take what comes.
“We’ll start picking them up again and they’ll need to go again next week. It would have been different if the game had been close to look at the bigger picture of it being in our hands.
“We just need to get on with, but I’m gutted for everybody.
“We had nearly 1,400 fans at the game so I’m gutted for all the people who were here and were disappointed.
“We were punished and we just need to take it on the chin and go again.”
The Blue Toon started brightly with Binos keeper Callum Ferrie diving at Leitch’s feet to stop him turning in Jason Brown’s cross from the right on nine minutes.
The breakthrough arrived on 37 minutes. A mis-placed pass in-field from Stirling left-back Cammy Thomson was seized upon by Leitch. The midfielder drove forward 30 yards and slipped in McAllister on the left of the box. He could have shot but instead rolled the ball across for LEITCH to knock it home from six yards.
In the second period Leitch’s shot on the turn from 10 yards was inches past and McAllister’s glancing header also drifted wide.
With 20 minutes left sub Shane Sutherland volleyed Jamie Stevenson’s right-wing cross over from three yards.
Other chances came and went, but it looked as if Peterhead would see the game out.
Then in the third minute of stoppage time a long diagonal found Darren Smith on the left and his cut-back was knocked home at the front post by MacDONALD.