STUART McKenzie has played down his heroics in our dramatic Betfred League Cup penalty shoot-out victory over Brora Rangers at Dudgeon Park.

After drawing 2-2 with the Highland side we claimed an extra point by winning 6-5 on penalties.

Stuart saved two of Brora’s spot kicks then scored the winner, but confessed the fact we failed to win over the 90 minutes meant he wasn’t really in the mood for celebrating.

“It’s always nice to save them and it was obviously my turn to step up and take one too,” he said.

“But we should have won the game before that, we definitely had enough chances in the first half. We had three or four in the second half too, I would have preferred if we had taken some of those.”

Despite his disappointment, Stuart believes the testing tussle with Brora was ideal preparation for Saturday’s League One opener against East Fife at Balmoral Stadium.

Stuart said: “The last few weeks have been all about making sure we are ready for this weekend. The clash with Brora gave some more of the lads some game time, which will help them be ready for what lies ahead in the league, which is our bread and butter.”

“We are looking to build on how well we did last season. We accept it will be a lot tougher because we have stepped up a division, but I think we have a strong enough squad to cause a lot of teams problems.”

The manager agreed that we should have avoided the need to go all the way to penalties in the clash with Brora.

He said: “We should have had all three points but could have ended up with one. We controlled the game for the bulk of the first half, but also lost a goal through a lapse in concentration.”

“That let them back in it but then we had another marvellous opportunity to go in 3-1 up but didn’t take it. You have to give Brora credit for the way they came back after that.”

“They looked a bit more determined than us, we didn’t pass the ball well enough, it wasn’t a Cove-like team performance. Even though we still created chances, we were too loose at times, I told the players I wasn’t pleased with that second half.”

“It was not up to the standard we have come to expect. I had made changes, which gave some players an opportunity to come in and show what they can do. Some did really well and others were disappointing.”

“But we move on now because the real test comes when we start the league campaign on Saturday.”

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