ALLAN Johnston admits a ‘soft’ goal and red card put paid to Dunfermline’s hopes of reaching the IRN-BRU Cup semi-final.
The Pars lost out to Mark Durnan’s deflected eighth-minute strike as Dundee United were able to make eight changes to their starting line-up and still progress.
Durnan struck when the Fifers failed to clear a corner, and the home side’s chances of overcoming the deficit were not improved when defender Lewis Martin was sent-off for a last-man foul on Blair Spittal.
The Dunfermline stopper hauled back the United midfielder after gifting him possession but, with the incident coming 45 yards from goal, the Pars were stunned to see Willie Collum flash red.
The defeat was a carbon copy of Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to United in the league when Nat Wedderburn was also sent-off for the Fifers.
Johnston said: “It’s frustrating when you lose a man again and go down to 10 men. We made it really difficult for ourselves.
“But we made it difficult for ourselves right from the start, losing a soft goal from a corner.
“It’s just taken a ricochet and you’ve got to be alive to the second balls.
“We knew they had a lot of height in their team and we had a couple of big players missing, but we should still have dealt with it better.
“It was a soft sending off as well. He still had a long way to go and it looks like Lee Ashcroft is getting back in as well. We’re disappointed it was given.
“But the boys responded really well, especially having gone down to 10 men on Tuesday as well. We kept on going and it looked like we might have nicked a goal.”
Dunfermline were aggrieved again in stoppage time at the end of the match when Collum did not award a foul after Coll Donaldson pulled over substitute Farid El Alagui
“Everybody in the stadium saw it but it was just the referee that disagreed with it,” added Johnston.