Iochdar Saints manager Stephen Macaulay is convinced his side will take heart and experience from the pain of their Highland Amateur Cup quarter-final defeat.
Saints, who were the final team from the Western Isles in the competition, went down 3-1 on penalty kicks to Wick Groats on Saturday.
It was a difficult result for Saints to take having led 3-1 in the match and 4-3 for much of extra-time before the 10 men of Groats won it in the dreaed 12-yard lottery.
But manager Macaulay was full of praise for his players.
“We did well but it wasn’t meant to be our day,” he said.
“We gave a very good account of ourselves and Wick know they are a bit fortunate to be through.
“This was the first time we have played a team like this in the competition and the experience will do us a lot of good. We know what we are up against now and we are all confident we can get as far,or even further, next season.”
Saints recovered from the loss of a goal inside the opening three minutes to level through an own-goal. Joseph Macinnes hit a second-half double to edge the Uist and Barra champs 3-1 clear but a goal 20-minutes from time threw Wick a lifeline.
Wick then levelled to take the match into extra-time but Saints again craned their neck into the lead with Ally Downie finding goal.
Once more though the stubborn Wick side hauled themselves level to force penalty kicks and when their keeper saved the first two Saints’ spot-kicks it left them with too much to do.