Peterhead manager Jim McInally belives Stranraer are his team’s benchmark if they are to progress in League One.
The Blue Toon suffered a second-half nightmare as they went down 4-1 to the visitors at Balmoor on Saturday.
But McInally, while disappointed with the result, was happy with his side’s battling performance.
Speaking after the game, McInally said: “I think the wend was a wee bit of a factory in the first half.
“We were probably just the better team for the first 45 minutes but against the wind in the second half we struggled,” he said.
“We just didn’t quite hold the ball up well enough and we gave away poor goals.
“You cannot defend like that in football and hope to take something out of the game.
“We lost two or three very poor goals and it just wasn’t good enough.
“In saying that, we never gave in, even at 4-1 we kept going, but we were playing a team that’s thriving at the moment and are full of confidence.
“What they have are good players that keep doing the right thing more often than not.
“We have players that are doing the right thing but not often enough and that’s the big difference.
“Stranraer are a benchmark for us. They have been good for the past two seasons.
“They’ve now beaten us 5-0 and 4-1 - that’s guys doing the right thing. They have a great shape to them and they are hard to play against and they’ve recently gone and beaten full-time sides. They have good players at the moment.
“We can’t lose goals like that and expect to take something out of the game.
“Our goalie didn’t have too many saves to make, but we needed to be better on the day,” he said.
“This is the level we need to reach if we are to make the play-offs.
“We need to make sure that we are okay this season then next season we need to try and make sure we improve to that standard and that’s where we are at the moment,” he added.
Peterhead’s next three matches are also tough encounters against teams at the top of the table.
McInally will be hoping for a bit of festive cheer as his side takes on Morton away from home on Saturday, Forfar at Balmoor on December 27, and Dunfermline away from home on January 3.