RONNIE Sharp took a lot out of today's home friendly against Championship title-hopefuls St Mirren despite his side going down to a heavy defeat.
Sharp ran the rule over young trialist Cohen Ramsay and handed starts to summer signings Adam Porritt, Adam Naismith and Ewen Urquhart. There was also a run out from the bench for 16-year-old Max Ewan, who signed on at Station Park yesterday.
Sharp said: "St Mirren are a very good team and I was really impressed with them but the disappointing thing for us was that we downed tools a bit in the second half and went through the motions when it got to 6-0. That is probably the most disappointing thing."
"We have only been back in training for two weeks and St Mirren have been back for longer than us with full time training and have a game under their belts too. We also had a very, very young team with the average of the squad at just 20. We had a lot of 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds playing today but it was good experience for them and I am sure they will have learned a lot from playing against quality opposition."
He added: "I was quite happy with the way we played in the first half. We gave away a couple of goals and made a couple of mistakes that we would not normally make from the goalkeeper right through to the front boys. We made basic errors but that happens when you are under so much pressure. It was a good game for us and although the scoreline was heavy, we just tired towards the end and teams like that who are fit are just going to run over the top of you."
Sharp was handicapped by the loss of four key players for today's game with Stephen Mackenzie's work commitments also rendering him unavailable for the coming months.
The manager stated: "We need to get our core of experienced boys back through the centre of the park. We were missing our most experienced centre half, centre midfielders and centre forward today with Glenn Main, Gregg Main, Jason Morganti and Gary Kerr all out. We need those players not only for their experience but their strength as well."
Sharp's starting line-up saw several players fielded in unfamiliar positions with the manager learning what cover he has in different areas of the park ahead of the season opener on July 29th.
He said: "The score is not important to us at all and we just have to regroup and kick on this week before the game on Friday. We had a lot of boys playing out of position today, which did not help either while another two just came back from holiday."
"I also thought the new boys all did well given it was their first game for the club. In fact, it was Ewen Urquhart's first game at this level, so it was a bit different throwing him in against a Championship team than building it up gradually by playing junior opposition."
Sharp is looking to remould his team over the coming weeks with another four pre-season friendlies ahead in the coming weeks.
He said: "We are not quite in the same situation as we were in last year but it is going to be a whole new team again. Obviously, the three players who moved on during the close season (Paul Macleod, Jamie Mackay and Wayne Mackintosh) are no longer with us and we look like losing another three long-term due to work commitments and other things, so we will look to bring one or two more in and there will be more chances for the younger players too."
One of those players who Sharp is keen to add to his squad is 17-year-old left back, Cohen Ramsay, who has just been released by Ross County.
Sharp revealed: "We spoke to Cohen and his mum after the game. I thought he did really well for us and he looks an exciting prospect at just 17. He has been training with us for a week now and he has shown that he wants to be a part of the club. He has a good pedigree having gone through the ranks at Ross County and I think he would fit in well here."
Max Ewan became the first signed player born this century to turn out for the club after appearing from the bench on 64 minutes and Sharp revealed that his move from Inverness CT is 99 percent done.
He said: "We signed Max yesterday but obviously with it being the weekend, we are still waiting for his registration to be confirmed by the SFA when their offices open tomorrow morning. He came on today for the last half-an-hour and it is good for young boys like him to play against this standard of opposition. We were happy with how they all performed."
Sharp turns his attention to the visit of Inverness CT to Station Park on Friday evening in the club's next pre-season friendly match (kick-off 7.30 pm).
"Hopefully, we will have a few boys back for Friday, which will allow us to play others in their proper positions," he said. "We will be a bit better off fitness-wise from today's game as well."