Ayr defender Frankie Musonda says there’s plenty for the Honest Men’s supporters to feel positive about as the new Championship season looms large – despite a disappointing campaign in the Premier Sports Cup.

Ayr’s Group F fixtures ended on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Lee Bullen’s men lost out to a second-minute goal by Graham Carey in Perth, meaning that only League 2 Elgin City keep the Somerset Park side off the bottom of Group F in the final standings.

But Musonda says the team’s performance over 90 minutes against their Premiership opponents should give Ayr’s supporters enough reason to be optimistic ahead of this weekend’s opening league fixture against Arbroath.

“I think we’ve gained a lot of experience playing in this cup,” Musonda said afterwards.

“I think today we showed again, that against any team we can match them. OK we didn’t get the win but it was there to see that the performance we put in that there were positive signs.”

Bullen made a host of changes to the team which had lost out on a bonus point at the hands of League 2 Annan Athletic after the sides drew 1-1 at Galabank last Tuesday, with Finn Ecrepont handed a rare start at left-back and Daire O’Connor and Jayden Mitchell-Lawson also starting for the Ayrshire side.

Following Carey’s early goal, Ayr managed to steady the ship and could have levelled as Sam Ashford shot straight at Elliot Parish from only eight yards out.

The visitors started the second half on the front foot and looked to start as they finished the first half with Dipo Akinyemi having his header saved from a Paul Smith corner.

Ashford was once again involved late on, passing up an opportunity to level as the game drew to a close.

He led a counter-attack and substitute Mikey Hewitt found himself completely unmarked, screaming for a pass – but instead the young striker decided to go it alone and fired his shot over the bar.

Ayr’s pursuit of Championship points begins against Arbroath at Somerset Park on Saturday – kick-off is at 3pm.