DUMBARTON manager Jim Duffy admits he couldn’t fault his players commitment despite their 4-0 loss to Falkirk in the Betfred Cup on Tuesday night.

The Sons boss was without a number of key players through injury and suspension as goals from Callumn Morrison, Connor Sammon and Anton Dowds secured a comfortable win for the Bairns.

The 61-year-old was delighted with his sides energy and hopes the experience can benefit some of his youngsters.

He said: “We just had to roll our sleeves up and work hard and we did do that in the first-half, but we lost an early goal in the second-half and that really just knocked the stuffing out the boys and gave Falkirk all the motivation they really need to go and dominate the game.

“Matthew [Reilly] said it was the first 90 minutes he’s played in over a year and for Donald Morrison it’s the first 90 minutes he’s played at that level of senior football ever, so these are things that is a great experience for the boys but it’s also a baptism of fire.

“It was a tough evening but I can’t complain about the players commitment and effort. They were absolutely still chasing and trying to work as hard as they could when there was just nothing left in the tank.

“As a manager you’re looking to see whether your players throw in the towel and not one single player threw in the towel.

"They could have felt sorry for themselves but they kept working and trying to chase and get back and make it difficult for Falkirk so I’ve got nothing but praise for the tremendous effort they put in but they were beaten by the better side.”

Morrison made his senior debut as Ruaridh Langan, Denny Johnstone, Robert Jones and Reilly also came into the starting line-up with Morgyn Neill, Stuart Carswell, Chris Hamilton, Nat Wedderburn and Adam Frizzell dropping out.

The visitors were chasing a big win to keep their hopes of qualification from the group alive and had made a bright start that was rewarded after 12 minutes.

A cross from the Falkirk left was deflected all the way through to Morrison at the back post who kept his volley low and precise to find the bottom corner.

Sammon then touched the ball towards goal following a missed Dumbarton clearance, but Kevin Dabrowski got an important fingertip to the ball to keep his side in the game even at this early stage.

Dumbarton’s Polish shotstopper pulled off another impressive save midway through the half to claw away a deflected cross and Jones came close at the other end with a remarkable overhead kick from the edge of the box that just looped over the bar.

Sons had another couple of openings before the break but in truth visiting goalkeeper PJ Morrison had barely dirtied his gloves with only Jones’ effort causing him to scramble.

The second-half was only a few minutes old when Morrison added his and Falkirk’s second, capitalising on a slack pass in the Sons defence.

Almost more than three points, Duffy would have been hoping to get through the evening without picking up any further injuries or suspensions to his already depleted squad, but lost Rico Quitongo just before the hour mark and he was replaced by Sons only outfield substitute Frizzell.

The visitors added a third and put the game to bed with just under twenty minutes remaining as Sammon turned the ball home on the end of a corner.

Dumbarton did opt to use their final substitute as goalkeeper Chris Calder, on an emergency loan from West of Scotland League outfit St. Rochs, replaced Dabrowski.

The 30-year-old was helpless, however, to keep out Falkirk’s fourth as substitute Dowds smashed the ball into the net from close range.

There was one final opportunity for Dumbarton with Ross Forbes’ free-kick pushed well clear of any danger by Morrison in the Bairns goal.

Sons round off their Betfred Cup campaign for another season when they visit Rugby Park to take on Premiership side Kilmarnock on Saturday, in what is a dead rubber as neither side can progress from the group