STIRLING ALBION manager Stuart McLaren was proud his players’ performance despite their Scottish Cup dream coming to an end in the Highlands on Tuesday.

The Binos were undone by two moments of real quality from the Premiership side, but the Albion boss had no complaints with the effort his side put in and believes the game could have turned out differently had they been more fortunate in front of goal.

McLaren told Stirling News Sport: “We are naturally upset to have gone out of the cup and to have lost the game, irrespective of the opponents. We were going in with a game plan, trying to get a result. We knew the chances of that were slim against a team of Inverness’ quality but we can’t be too despondent. We are proud of the effort over the two games and of some of the quality we showed as well.

“Early in the game we had better opportunities on the counter attack and that was all part of the game plan. We knew we couldn’t go toe-to-toe with them in terms of possession and instead we had to try and negate them, invite them to come onto us and then use our pace. A couple of times it nearly came off and it would have been interesting to see how the game might have panned out had we scored first.”

The game could have changed inside the opening minutes when Danny Williams hauled down Steven Doris as the striker ran in on goal, but McLaren admitted it would have been harsh if the Inverness man had been sent off.

He said: “A few of our boys were appealing for it but it all comes down to whether it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity. It was a goalscoring opportunity, Steven is a good finisher, but it would have had to have been a decent finish to score from there so that has probably gone through the referee’s mind. But you have seen them given.”

Despite defeat, the Binos boss believes there are plenty of positives to take into Saturday’s League Two clash with Queen’s Park and beyond into the remainder of the season.

“There were a few players with bowed heads in the dressing room and we are naturally upset with the outcome of the game, but over the course of the two ties we have got to be proud of the effort we put in. We have got to use that now going into what is our priority, the league campaign.”