Forfar Athletic boss Dick Campbell lauded East Fife for their performance in the Fifers’ 2-1 victory in the Petrofac Training Cup first round on Saturday.
Poor defending from the Loons allowed Jon McShane and Ewan Moyes to put simple headers past Rab Douglas before half time.
Campbell had some stern words for his players at half time and that, coupled with some timely substitutions, put the visitors to Bayview Stadium on top for the second period but despite Dale Hilson’s well-taken goal, they couldn’t get back on level terms and crashed out of the Challenge Cup at the first hurdle.
Speaking to the Dispatch, Campbell said: “The last thing that we should have done was give East Fife the goals that we gave them, they were so sloppy.
“The two goals we’ve lost, they weren’t really conducive to how we’ve been playing the last six or seven games - we’ve been playing really well.
“East Fife deserved to win the game. We made East Fife look a good side. We gave ourselves too much to do with those goals.
“I lost the rag a bit at half time and you could see the difference of that, we played well but we never really tested them. Their goalie never really had anything to do. We missed Darren Dods a bit to be fair.
“Their manager has brought in a lot of new faces, they were hard to beat and had the right attitude.
“We’ve done really well in pre-season and that goes for nothing.”
East Fife player-manager Gary Naysmith, an unused substitute, felt his side were well worth the victory - but admitted Forfar would have been clear favourites had the game gone to extra time due to their superior fitness.
Naysmith said: “For the club, this is brilliant but for the players as well. For 65 to 70 minutes we were different class. If Jamie Beaton or John McShane had scored it could have easily been four or five. But they’ve missed, Forfar got their goal back and then we’ve begun to tire. A lot of the boys have missed pre-season training.
“I knew we were just going to hang on but if it had gone to extra time, they’d have been favourites.”
Forfar Athletic will be returning to the east end of Fife this Saturday when they visit Raith Rovers in the first round of the Scottish League Cup.
The clubs have confirmed that admission prices for the tie are £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.