Ayr United boss David Hopkin admits he was left with a feeling of mixed emotions after his side were knocked out of the Premier Sports cup on Saturday, but remains hopeful for the matches ahead.

The Honest Men were defeated on penalties by Dundee United at Somerset Park, but the outcome could’ve been a whole lot different with the home side leading with 10 minutes to play before a penalty award for Dundee United and a red card for Ayr changed the game.

Ayr had led through a Tomi Adeloye goal 10 minutes into the second half and looked like holding on for a famous cup victory. However, 10 minutes before the end, Jack Baird was judged to have fouled Ryan Edwards in the penalty area, resulting in a spot kick and a second yellow card for Baird.

Nicky Clarke converted and the game then went the full way to a penalty shootout.

Despite the exit, Hopkin admits he was proud of the efforts his players showed.

He said: “We came up with a plan of how we wanted to play, and I thought every player executed that excellently.

“Dundee United didn’t look like scoring at all, until the penalty decision which I’m still baffled about.

“I think everyone that was at the game will know it was never a penalty, so to be put out the cup by that decision is really frustrating.

“But the other side of it, I think you have to look at the players and the squad. I’ve got to give great praise to the Ayr United fans who were absolutely fantastic today and they got behind the boys.”

After a tough league start for Ayr which has seen them take one point from their opening two games, Hopkin is hopeful that his players can take positives from their display against Premiership opposition into their league form when they travel to face Inverness Caley Thistle this weekend.

He said: “I think we proved that we can go and take games to teams. Tommy’s got another goal and now we need to come back in and get ready for another tough game next week away to Inverness, but I’m sure the players will be in good spirits.”