David Martindale has urged Livingston to learn to rein in their attacking instincts after watching them reach the quarter-finals of the Viaplay Cup.
An early goal from Joel Nouble and a second-half strike from Cristian Montaño eased the Lions past Championship hopefuls Ayr United with a 2-0 win at Almondvale.
But Martindale reckons his side should have coped better with being two goals ahead in the closing stages, when Jack Bryden passed up a gilt-edged opportunity to get Ayr back into the tie.
He wants his players to temper their natural enthusiasm when wins are within their reach.
He said: “At that point, I’m just looking for them to manage the game a little bit better than what they did.
“If I had a frustration, that’s what it would have been. I’ll speak to the boys about that on Monday morning.
“At some points, we’re away gung-ho. We’re down the left flank, we’re down the right flank and our two number sixes are away joining in on the wings. That’s just down to game management.
“But it’s down to the appetite of the players on the park and it’s kind of in our DNA and how we train and how we coach the players, in terms of the aggression and the intensity.
“But sometimes I would like them just to come off that a little bit at 2-0 and manage the game a bit better.”
Martindale also felt his players should have been more comfortable with taking their early lead.
Jason Holt’s lofted pass was flicked on brilliantly by Kurtis Guthrie and Montaño benefitted to burst to the bye-line. His pinpoint cutback was fired into the net by Nouble from eight yards out.
It was the ideal start for the Premiership hosts, who were bidding to avoid the shock defeat they suffered against Championship opponents Inverness Caley Thistle in last season’s Scottish Cup.
Ayr gave as good as they got throughout but could not find the attacking edge to get themselves back into the tie.
And Montaño sent Livi into the last-eight when he was played through on the left side of the box and shot past Robbie Mutch in the Ayr goal with the aid of a ricochet.
Martindale added: “The second goal brought a lot of confidence to us as a group and we knew at that point the game was ours to lose as long we controlled the game within our shape.”
Meanwhile, Ayr manager Lee Bullen is excited for the future for his side this season, despite the defeat.
The Honest Men defeated St Johnstone in the group stage of the tournament last month and are looking to build on last season’s runners-up spot in the Championship.
Logan Chalmers signed on loan from Dundee United ahead of kick-off and veteran winger Aidan McGeady was making his first start.
Bullen said: “It excites me, the group of players that we’re trying to put together.
“Aiden and Logan are X-factor players. When they’re fully up to speed and I get Jamie Murphy fit then there’s shoots of excitement I think.”