ELGIN City crashed to a 4-0 home defeat in Saturday’s Division 3 top of the table clash wth Queen’s Park.
City manager Ross Jack admitted his players flopped in front of a crowd of 855 to surrender their leadership of the league.
“It pains me to say it but they were hungrier than us, and we were second best,” Jack said after the match.
“We had too many players who had an off day and against a very good side like Queen’s Park it makes it very tough.”
The Moray side were without veteran striker Dennis Wyness, who has been ruled out for three weeks with a knee ligament injury.
Midfielder Ross O’Donoghue also missed out, while Mark Nicolson was struggling with a back injury but was passed fit to play.
Manager Jack brought striker Paul Millar in for his first start of the season and also played Graeme Beveridge from the start, beginning with the same 3-5-2 formation as the previous week’s win over Peterhead.
But after a solid start, during which Daniel Moore struck the woodwork from a free kick and Craig Gunn forced a fine save from the visiting keeper, Elgin lost their way.
Jack said: “I thought we played really well in the first fifteen minutes and were unlucky not to go ahead. We hit the post, and their goalkeeper made a miraculous save.
“But in the end they werea far better team than us.
“It’s not what we need here at home. We need to be much stronger than that, but we’ll get it right and we’ll come strong again.”
Elgin were opened up on 29 minutes by three passes across their penalty area, leading to teenager Lawrence Shankland smashing in an opener.
Three minutes later Jamie Longworth squared for Tony Quinn to shoot home a second, leaving City with a mountain to climb.
Longworth, who netted four goals in a game against Elgin last season and was a thorn in their side throughout the campaign, added two more in 73 and 89 minutes to complete a miserable day for the City faithful.
Elgin will now need to pick up their challenge for next Saturday’s visit of South of Scotland League St Cuthbert Wanderers in what will be City’s 100th Scottish Cup tie.
Elgin: Gibson, Niven, Beveridge, Crighton, Duff, Cameron, Gunn, Millar (Harkins 60), Leslie, Nicolson (McMullan 86), Moore (Forbes 83). Subs: Trialist, Black.
See Friday’s Northern Scot for more Elgin City news.