IT’S not often Clydebank manager Kieran McAnespie walks off a football pitch happy after losing, but that’s the position he found himself in after his side’s Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Glenafton Athletic.

The treble winners edged a tightly fought contest against the newly promoted Bankies on the first day of the season, but there were plenty of positives to take from the game for the Bankies.

So much so that even opposition manager Craig McEwan admitted in a national newspaper this week that McAnespie’s side were the better team on the day.

Before the tie, the Bankies boss said it would be the acid test for his team, and while they came away from Ayrshire with no points to show for it, they were able to go toe-to-toe with the champions.

McAnespie said: “It’s weird that we lost and that I’m happy.

“I don’t like losing but I was delighted with what the players did. Their application, the desire, the work rate, the composure, we kept the ball in the right areas, we made the right decisions and it was just one decision that went against us in a defensive point of view.

“It’s a nice compliment because he [Craig McEwan] has the best team and he’s full of confidence in his team.

“He’s proud of what he’s put together, for him and Pottsy [assistant manager Craig Potter] to openly admit that we were better was tough, because you know in every aspect we topped them apart from defensively.

“Not one person in that stadium on Saturday thought Glenafton should have won. However, it doesn’t go into our thoughts, it’s down to goals and that’s what we’ve got to take away.

“It’s a learning curve and we need to make sure we’re more resolute.”

The next games don’t get any easier for Clydebank. A home quarter-final tie against Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, last year’s runners-up in the league came from behind to beat Auchinleck Talbot on Saturday, and then a home tie against Kilwinning Rangers, who have splashed the cash to sign prolific striker David Winters this summer.

But as long as they continue their performance levels from Saturday, McAnespie insisted his side shouldn’t fear anyone this season.

The Clydebank manager added: “We’ve shown that we’ve gone to the champions and gave a good account of ourselves and we need to continue that momentum and the work ethic.

“That’s the biggest thing, as long as they continue that, that will hold us in good stead.”