Scott Robertson refused to blame the upcoming Ayr United game for Raith Rovers’ poor performance in the Irn-Bru Cup quarter-final defeat at Dumbarton.
Raith rested some key players but were comprehensively outplayed for the opening hour, only improving in the latter stages once 2-0 behind and down to 10 men following a red card to Greig Spence.
Robertson was brought off the bench and helped steady the ship, but insisted that tomorrow’s big league game at Somerset Park had no bearing on the team’s cup exit.
“The way we prepared for the game I don’t think anybody could use that as an excuse,” he said.
“We showed Dumbarton a lot of respect with the line-up we put out, and that same formation worked in the previous round. The game plan never panned out as well as it did last time.
“I don’t think we played anywhere near as well as we have been this season.
“When it went to 2-0, all of a sudden we managed to be more brave on the ball.
“Maybe the mindset was just, ‘stuff it, we’ve got nothing to lose’.”
Robertson was disappointed to miss out on the rare chance to feature in a national cup semi-final.
“I’m 32 now and I’ve only played in three or four semi-finals in my whole career, and never in this one,” he said.
Dumbarton dominated the first half, posing problems from crosses, and took the lead from a poorly defended corner in the 20th minute.
Tom Walsh sent his delivery to the back post where an unmarked Craig Barr nodded down for Chris McLaughlin to stab home from six yards.
Dumbarton doubled their lead early in the second half when Iain Davidson, struggling with an injury, was dispossessed by Ally Roy who raced clear and slotted the ball beyond Graeme Smith.
Raith boss Barry Smith brought Robertson and Liam Buchanan off the bench for Davidson and youngster James Berry.
However, things got worse on 57 minutes when Spence was red carded for handling on the line, although goalkeeper Smith prevented further damage by blocking Walsh’s spot-kick.
Raith mounted a comeback bid with Lewis Vaughan dragging a shot narrowly wide, while the forward also wasted a glorious chance with a poor touch when through on goal.
But Dumbarton were comfortable winners, leaving Smith to bemoan a poor opening hour from his side.
“We didn’t do well enough in the first half,” he said. We gave ourselves a lot of problems by not retaining the ball and we were under a lot of pressure.
“The pleasing thing was when we went down to 10 men we didn’t buckle, and actually kept the ball better.
“But we wanted to get to a semi-final, and that’s now gone.”