STEVIE FARRELL has called on his players to use the disappointment of their Scottish Cup exit to their advantage as they battle to get out of the League One relegation zone.

The Sons boss says his players deserved more than they got after crashing out of the tournament at the hands of Dundee on Saturday.

Sons played more than half the fourth round tie with ten men following Ross MacLean’s controversial red card moments before the break – with Leigh Griffiths’ penalty just after the hour securing a spot in the last 16 for James McPake’s men.

Faz’s troops battled hard but couldn’t force the game into extra-time, despite having a decent shout for a spot-kick of their own in the final minutes when Conner Duthie’s effort looked to have struck a defender’s arm.

The Sons boss said he was delighted with his players’ performance in spite of the result – and hopes his side can maintain the standard set on Saturday as they look to climb out of the relegation zone in what’s left of the League One campaign.

Speaking post-match, he said: “It’s very difficult when you go down to 10 men, but I didn’t think there was anything in the game when we did.

“Over the piece we can be very proud, but it’s a hard pill to take because Dumbarton deserved a lot more from the game than they got.

“I’m disappointed for the players because they are sitting in the dressing room gutted.

“The only way Conner Duthie’s is not a penalty at the end is if the ball has gone out the pitch. If the ball remained in play, then it’s a penalty kick. I was screaming for a penalty and Leigh Griffiths walked by me and said he thought it was a penalty as well.

“They are the decisions that go for the Premier League clubs.”

Sons went into Saturday’s cup tie off the back of a 2-0 win over East Fife that opened up an eight-point gap between Farrell’s side and the bottom-of-the-table Fifers.

It’s back to the bread-and-butter of League One business for Sons this Saturday – and they could scarcely face a tougher test, with league leaders Cove Rangers set to visit the stadium.

“The last two performances have been really good,” Farrell continued, “but we’ve got to take that disappointment, shrug it off and look ahead to the remainder of the League One season and make sure we get ourselves safe in this league.

“If we keep playing like that between now and the end of the season I think we’ll be absolutely fine.”

Meanwhile, Sons confirmed the signing of defender Stephen Bronsky, who appeared as a trialist against East Fife last week, with Faz also bringing in Dundee United youngster Adam Hutchinson on loan until the end of the season.

That adds to the signings of Gregg Wylde, Joshua Oyinsan and Kieran Wright earlier in the month and Farrell is pleased with the work he has done in the January window.

He added: “I know what we needed to improve and I’m delighted with the window. We’ve brought in players who will help us between now and the end of the season.”