Peterhead boss Jim McInally today insisted the Betfred Cup set-up makes it tougher for part-time clubs to progress.
The Blue Toon suffered qualification frustration as they failed to progress from their group despite a comfortable 3-0 win away at Elgin City.
That victory came on the back of a superb 2-1 defeat of Premiership side Hearts at Balmoor on Tuesday.
Peterhead finished on nine points from four games but still did not reach the knock-out stage of the tournament.
That was not good enough to secure one of the four best-runners up spots, with Peterhead finishing fifth best runner-up behind Dunfermline.
Ironically the Blue Toon, who finished ahead of Hearts in their group, qualified for the knock-out stage last season with less points having racked up eight.
McInally said: “It would have been nice to throw a spanner in the works of those who have balanced this tournament completely against the part-time teams.”
Peterhead raced into an early lead at Borough Briggs when Paul CAIRNEY hit home an impressive effort.
It was the midfielder’s first Blue Toon goal.
Summer signing David McCRACKEN grabbed his first goal when he converted Willie Gibson’s cross in the 33rd minute.
A superb strike from Jamie STEVENSON put Peterhead 3-0 up in the 54th minute.
The 33-year-old cut in from the left and rifled a stunning strike into the far top corner.
Having been relegated last season McInally believes Peterhead can go into the League 2 season full of confidence, despite missing out in the Betfred Cup.
Peterhead kick-off their league campaign away to Annan on Saturday.
He said: “Hopefully we can take confidence from this into the new season. Things are looking good at the minute.”