BLUE Toon boss Neale Cooper will be asking Santa for some fighting spirit for his team this Christmas.
A dejected Cooper was forced to watch a lacklustre Peterhead fall to a five-star performance from league-leaders Brechin City at Balmoor on Saturday and admitted it wasn’t inspiring viewing.
And with Dumbarton holding two games in hand at the bottom of the table - and just two points difference - things are looking bleak for Peterhead as they head into the New Year.
“Really upset” was how Cooper described the way he felt after Saturday’s demolition of his side, but in fairness a dodgy penalty decision and a similarly questionable sending off didn’t do Peterhead any favours.
“What can I say?” said Cooper after the 5-0 loss. “I think the conditions for the game were horrendous, but that counted for both teams and it’s no excuse.
“Going 2-0 down and then at the wrong end of two big decisions - the penalty and the sending off - was bad, but we’ve been 2-0 down before and came back.
“I thought at that point that the lads would just go for it, then Bobby Mann slips for the third goal and then the wind took the ball over Jon Bateman for the fourth and then we were just chasing the game before they got another,” he said.
“I’m just bitterly disappointed.
“One or two of the lads backed a bit on Saturday and it’s just hard to say anything positive.
“I still can’t believe it was a penalty. It did not look like he was trying to save the ball, just trying to save himself and then that’s us down to ten men and we have a battle on our hands.
“Saying that, one or two boys were poor on Saturday. I didn’t get much from either wide area or the back. We need to be much stronger,” he said.
Cooper had been hit with a double injury blow with Stuart Ross and Neil McVitie both down with the flu, while Bobby Mann is still lacking sharpness and Martin Bavidge having just returned the day before from working in Germany.
“No excuses though, I’m just disappointed with the overall performance,” said Cooper.
“I need to get more from certain players. At 2-0 down you have to have a go and be positive.
“We have to do better than this if we are going to pull ourselves off the bottom of the league. It’s just not good enough,” he said.
“We potentially now have Airdrie coming up today and that’s a massive game for us which we need to win.
“The lads know that they have to pull out all the stops. I’ve been let down by a few of them so they need to step up to the mark.
“Sometimes you have to just roll up your sleeves and dig in and there’s not enough of our boys doing that. They’re too soft.
“We have to go and get a result in the next game - that’s the crux of it.
“Nothing else will do,” he added.