Montrose boss Stewart Petrie admits last Saturday’s game against league leaders Arbroath was a yardstick for his players to see how far they have come this season.
Now, the manager is looking to see how they measure up once more when they face Stranraer at Links Park today.
The Gable Endies may have lost 2-0 against Dick Campbell’s Red Lichties but Petrie insisted there were still signs of improvement from the 4-0 defeat when the sides met on the opening day of the campaign.
And he is hoping there will be further indications of progress against another team that beat them back in August.
Petrie said: “The Arbroath game was a yardstick for ourselves to see if we are improving and I think we are, there is no doubt about that.
“We have certainly made inroads into that especially based on the second-half performance.
“We put them under pressure at times but they are a right good side and defend really well.
“They have great experience along the back four and the goalkeeper.
“They are really difficult to break down as you can see by the clean sheets they have kept in recent games.
“And when you have the quality that Dick has in his teams, they can counterattack well and they caught us late in the game with that.
“We probably sat off them a bit in the first half and maybe gave them too much respect but I was certainly happy with the second-half performance.
“We didn’t create any real clear-cut chances but we were definitely closer to them than we had been in the first game of the season.”
Petrie admitted that Arbroath’s title charge will be difficult to halt but he is more concerned about what his own side can do, starting against Stranraer.
He added: “Arbroath are going to take some stopping.
“If you finish above them, you will have a heck of a chance of winning the league.
“They are quite rightly favourites as they haven’t lost a game.
“But our season will not be decided on what we do against Arbroath.
“Games like this Saturday’s against Stranraer will have an impact though. It is a big, big match for us, there is no doubt about that.
“It was not a free hit against Arbroath as you want to get something from the game.
“But apart from ourselves, it was a game where we weren’t expected to take anything from it.
“So we will have to get back to it.
“The boys have worked hard this week and we are certainly ready for a tough challenge against Stranraer.
“We were beaten by them down there so Stevie (boss Farrell) will have them up for the game this time. He has them going well and they are dangerous.”
Montrose’s Danny Cavanagh will miss the game after his partner had a baby this week while Graham Webster is a major injury doubt.