Stenhousemuir continue their run of games against the top sides on League One on Saturday when they face second-placed Peterhead at Ochilview.
Brown Ferguson’s side go into the game on the back of heavy away defeats, but with contrasting performances, at leaders Dunfermline and third-placed Ayr.
The Warriors boss is hoping his side can put on the kind of performance they did at Ayr when they were well in the game at 1-1 until Alan Cook’s sending off with 17 minutes to go.
Ferguson admitted: “Against Dunfermline the performance just wasn’t good enough.
“We were far too passive and let them dictate the game dictate the game and our performance just wasn’t of the standard or level we were expecting.
“But it was a completely different story against Ayr. We were much more aggressive and got forward and created chances when we had the ball and I really felt we could take something out of the game.
“The sending off was an obvious turning point but the effort the players put in was much better and gives us something we can take into the games ahead.”
Cook’s dismissal for a rash challenge when already on a yellow was his second red card of the season.
The winger has also accumulated 10 yellows and missed the recent match with Cowdenbeath through suspension.
He will now miss Saturday’s game with Peterhead - but also banned is the Petrofac Cup finalists’ striker Rory McAllister who hit a hat-trick, albeit in a 4-3 defeat, on his last visit to Ochilview in October.
Ferguson said: “Obviously they have other good players but when you take out someone who scores 30 goals a season it’s a big miss.
“But we know it will be difficult. They are a side really like and they are having a good season.”
Stenny currently sit seventh in the table, five points off a promotion play-off place but just seven clear of the relegation play-off position.
Ferguson said: “We have eight games to go and seven points to get to reach our target of 10 points per quarter for the season.
“The sooner you get that the sooner you can look up the table, whereas if takes longer you start looking down at the relegation area.
“I know it’s a cliche but we’re just taking one game at a time and trying to get to target we set the players at the start of the season.”