AYR United boss Lee Bullen says he hopes giving his player time to “stew” on last week’s Premier Sports Cup hammering by Queen of the South will give them the push they need to bounce back.

Bullen labelled the 3-0 reversal at Somerset Park “embarrassing” as he lamented his side’s failure to take their chances against a Doonhamers side who proved far more clinical in front of goal.

Ayr are back in action in Group F tonight (Tuesday) against Annan Athletic at Galabank, before rounding out their campaign against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The result was some measure of revenge for Queens, who were relegated from the Championship at the end of last season while Bullen’s men survived.

Ayr seemed to be the more attacking of the two early on – but the Honest Men were hit by an early blow when Lee Connelly opened the scoring in the eighth minute.

Ayr tried to put the foot down, with Dipo Akinyemi rattling the woodwork twice and Sean McGinty having a 35-yard shot tipped over the bar as Bullen’s men pushed forward in the search for an equaliser.

The hosts also started the second-half on the front foot with Akinyemi once again going close only to be denied by Queens keeper Martin Currie.

And Ayr were made to rue their missed chances when Connor Murray went from provider to goalscorer, sweeping home Queens’ second from eight yards.

Despite the host’s tally of 22 shots – 10 of them on target – Ayr couldn’t find a way through, and former Somerset man Josh Todd punished poor defending by the hosts to notch the visitors’ third.

Bullen said afterwards: “It’s an embarrassing result. Was it a shocking performance? Probably not, but the result is embarrassing and that’s what matters.

“We had a lot of shots on target, but the only statistic that counts is we didn’t score any goals where Queens scored three.

“We are learning a lot and some players are playing themselves into the team. We’ll allow the players to stew on that and beat themselves up because myself and the coaching staff will.”