Carluke Rovers manager Derek Wilson reckons the absence of top scorer Ciaran Lafferty hurt his side in Saturday’s West of Scotland Cup first round defeat at home to Royal Albert.
Rovers lost 3-1 in a penalty shootout after the regulation 90 minutes finished all square at 1-1.
Paul Donaghy’s ninth minute goal gave Rovers a dream start and the John Cumming Stadium team proceeded to miss a number of good chances in an opening period they dominated.
They were made to pay for this profligacy when Albert scored a 53rd minute equaliser through David Hamilton’s penalty following the spot kick award for a Ross MacNeil handball.
With the score ending up 1-1 it was straight to penalties which proved a nightmare for Carluke as skipper Mark Weir was the only successful scorer from four attempts and Rovers crashed out 3-1.
Gaffer Wilson told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “If Ciaran was playing I think we would have taken some of those first half chances we missed.
“Missing chances has cost us in the last couple of games.
“We have had the chances but are not taking them.
“But at least we are creating chances. It would be more worrying if we weren’t.
“When we get Ciaran back we will be better.”
Lafferty serves the second game of his two-match suspension this weekend so will miss this Saturday’s McBookie.com League One trip to Maryhill, kick-off 1.45pm.
Although Rovers are down in ninth place in the table, they are just three points off the promotion spots.
“Maryhill away is a tough game,” Wilson said. “We beat them 6-1 at the start of the season but it is a hard place to go.
“Our boys know they are up against it.
“It will be a hairy park – if the game is on – so we can’t play the usual football we play on the astroturf.
“We need to be prepared for a battle.
“We did it at Glasgow Perthshire recently.
“We need to roll our sleeves up and get on with it.
“If we get a good result we could be sitting third or fourth in the table.
“With the league we are in and the way junior football is, there is not a lot of money.
“We need to pick players up from wherever we can.
“Everybody is going to take points off each other because we are similar.
“Even if we don’t win on Saturday, us going for promotion is not finished.
“Our main aim at the start was to stay in the league.
“If we do that it is fine but we think our team can be challenging for promotion.
“It would be disappointing if we finished up down the bottom end of the league.
“I am looking to bring one or two players in. One target - who can play in defence or midfield - may be signed in time for Saturday.”