Blyth Spartans midfielder Neal Hooks was happy to focus on the positives in the wake of his side’s 4-2 defeat to St Mirren.
Hooks was among the Green Army’s scorers as the home side battled back from 2-0 down against Scottish Premiership outfit St Mirren only to concede twice at the death.
However, the long-serving midfielder praised the performance of his team-mates, and insisted that such a test will only serve Spartans well ahead of the new campaign.
He said: “It was a great workout for us. It was a tough game to play in – the heat didn’t help. But going into the new season, it was exactly the type of match we wanted.
“We could tell it was a step-up in quality. I felt like they always had another gear, although perhaps that is doing us a bit of a disservice. They had a lot of their star players on the pitch by the end.
“I think Colin (Myers) was pleased with the workout, but a bit disappointed with the result. But the workout was more important on the day.”
Defeat to the Paisley side was the third in as many weeks for Spartans against Scottish opposition, with 11 goals conceded in the process.
However, the Green Army have been far from outclassed against any of the three sides – with there being little in the way of a correlation between performances and results.
And, ahead of his sixth season at Croft Park, Hooks believes there is a positive vibe in the dressing room.
“The new boys have settled in well, and it’s very welcome to have that competition for places within the squad.
“You want someone to be pushing you – it can only make you improve.
“We haven’t sat down and talked about targets as such, but I think we know where we want to be in the end – and that’s the play-offs at least.”