ARTHURLIE coach Craig Palmer admits he was gutted to see his troops suffer their first defeat of the season as they were edged out by Lowland League leaders Bonnyrigg Rose.

The Barrhead team put up a brave fight in the South Challenge Cup tie at Dunterlie Park on Saturday but a first half penalty from Lewis Turner secured victory for the visitors.

It could have been different had Arthurlie netted a spot-kick of their own but Gary Carroll’s effort was saved.

And, despite piling pressure on Rose as full-time approached, the hosts couldn’t find a way through.

Palmer believes his players deserved more from the game and insists that tasting defeat for the first time in 30 outings won’t dent their confidence.

He told Barrhead Sport: “I thought that, over the 90 minutes, we were the dominant team.

“I was very pleased with the performance. Everything was spot on.

“I was a wee bit gutted for the boys that they didn’t get at least a draw, which I thought they were more than worthy of. If our penalty goes in, then I think we win the game.

“To be the team pushing for 90 minutes and to have chances was good.

“You could hear the Bonnyrigg fans saying after the game they were quite lucky to get the win, so to perform the way we did against a team like that is very pleasing.

“Bonnyrigg are a clever side. They came out and slowed the game down in the second half and started to get bodies behind the ball. We just couldn’t break them down.

“The boys will be fine and the main thing we said after the game was to make sure they held their heads high. They didn’t deserve to lose.”

Arthurlie have another big game this weekend as they travel to Premier Division outfit Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the Scottish Junior Cup, with a spot in the semi-finals up for grabs.

And, having knocked out top tier opposition in Benburb earlier this season, Palmer is confident his team will return to winning ways.

He added: “There’s no time to dwell on Saturday’s result, with a massive game coming up this weekend.

“Our boys are a good group and they believe they can go and beat anybody as long as they apply themselves properly.

“It takes a good team to stop us.”

Kick-off at Guys Meadow Stadium on Saturday is at 2.30pm.