ST Mirren caretaker manager Allan McManus admits Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to Dunfermline was a bitter pill to swallow but insists there was positive signs for Saints.

McManus, who was taking charge of his first game as interim manager Alex Rae’s sacking last week, watched his side twice take the lead before going behind and getting what looked like a vital equaliser through Ryan Hardie with eight minutes to go.

However, Kyle Hutton’s errant back pass gave Farid El Alagui an easy chance to grab the winner and ensure the Buddies have now gone seven league games without a win.

Despite his obvious deflation at Saturday’s result, McManus praised parts of the team’s performance.

John Sutton scored an impressive brace and Ryan Hardie’s strike was the goal of the game, while the team looked comfortable in the 4-2-3-1 system which McManus had chosen.

He said: “It’s such a difficult one to take. The boys have worked so hard this week, they’ve played the way we had worked on all week.

“To score three goals away from home and still come away with a defeat is hard. There’s a couple of freak goals we have conceded which sums us up this season.

“But there’s no point in having the heads down, I think they can be proud of how they performed today. The only people who can rectify it is the players and myself at the moment.

“We controlled large parts of the game and we moved the ball well at times. We created numerous opportunities.”