CARNOUSTIE Panmure manager Ian Gilzean remains upbeat despite a serious loss on Saturday to Cove.
The Gowfers suffered a six-nil defeat at Allan Park, but according to Ian that doesn’t make the game a total loss.
He said: “It was quite a tough game, it’s not the best start to our pre-season.
“We lost three goals in the first 15 minutes, and I think we looked a little bit ring rusty, but we played well for the next hour and it wasn’t until the last 15 minutes when tiredness started to take effect that we lost the last three goals.
“It was a good opening game for us, and our fitness levels will have come on as a result.
“Yes, we could’ve taken an easier game to start with, but we wouldn’t have got so much out of it.”
However, one thing the Gowfers did not want to take away from their first friendly was a brace of injuries.
“It was a big disappointment for us when Mark Matthew fell awkwardly on his shoulder, damaging his shoulder blade.
“It could be four to six weeks before he’s back. Obviously that’s disappointing for him, getting hurt in pre-season, because he has worked so hard during training.”
Midfielder John Roberts hurt his ankle during the warm-up session, and was replaced by the ill-fated Matthew.
Ian praised the efforts of hard-pressed goalie John McCafferty, he said: “John had a couple of great saves during that game.
“Defensively earlier on in the game we were looking a bit shaky, and a couple of their goals were poor, but a couple also had excellent finishes on them.”
The fact that the Gowfers managed to hold out an hour without conceding, and even made some chances of their own was a promising sign for Ian.
He said: “After a while we started playing better as a team and as a unit, and we did have a couple of chances to score.
“The boys did really well, and to lose three goals that early on and not crumble was a real test of character.”
New additions Stuart Ferguson and Danny Millar played the entire game and were joined by Brian Clark, who had at one point seemed destined for Montrose.
Ian said: “Brian played for us on Saturday, and then on Monday I was able to tie him down to a two year deal with us.
“Danny and Stuart both did really well. It’ll take time for them to settle in to the team and how we do things around here, and they’ll also need to get used to working with new players. We all got better for that game.”
Ian is already focusing on the next fixture against the Dundee United XI, another challenging side that could prove troublesome for Panmure.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2010/11 pre-season and resulted in a hard fought nil-nil draw that Ian will be looking to build on.
“It’s mostly going to be younger boys that we’ll face as United’s season restarts this Sunday.
“That’s going to be a tough game as well. They’re all full-time players and if we sit off and give them space they’ll make life really difficult for us.
“We’ll need to close them down and get in about them.
“Whatever happens it’ll be a good game, and hopefully it’ll be played in the right spirit and not descend into a kicking match.”
There was also some hope for two Panmure stalwarts who have been injured this past season.
Alan McSkimming will have an operation next week to repair his cruciate while Andy Cowan has been consulting his surgeon for a date for his own knee operation.
Ian said: “We’re looking at six to seven months before they’ll be able to play again, and in the meantime we’ll just have to get along without them.”
But now Ian is taking the positives from pre-season, he added: “It’s about the players, not about the results.
“Of course we don’t want to be turned over every game, but the one we need to be looking at is Bathgate.
“We want to hit the ground running for that one.”