DUNFERMLINE coach Caine McIntyre praised his team’s defensive performance despite going down to defeat to Caithness on Saturday.

The Blues lost for the third successive match in BT Caledonia Division One at McKane Park to the table-topping visitors, who moved four points clear thanks to three penalties from the boot of Marc Anderson.

After a bruising 51-15 derby defeat at Glenrothes in their previous game – a performance McIntyre described as “appalling” – Dunfermline had a point to prove and they produced a strong defensive performance to deny the free-scoring visitors a try.

Caithness had scored 205 points in their opening six matches, including 98 in their previous game with Mackie Academy, but heavy rain resulted in a difficult surface.

Anderson kicked over the first three points of the day in the 18th minute when the hosts were penalised for not rolling away, and a similar offence in the second half put Caithness six points to the good.

Although they couldn’t fashion any try-scoring opportunities, Dunfermline were on track to record a bonus point until they conceded another penalty for offside, from which Anderson completed the scoring.

McIntyre said: “It was a tale of two well-organised defensive performances; we had a point to prove after Glenrothes as we pride ourselves on our defence so far this season. We challenged the players to show that that was just a blip and to hold them out for 80 minutes in terms of tries was a great effort.

"Physicality can count towards the end in games, but we were magnificent in defence.

“The two tackles for not rolling away was maybe down to a bit of over-eagerness but the third penalty was a bit harsh because I don’t think we were offside.

"It would’ve given us a bonus point and it’s disappointing for the players because of the effort they put in, but you just have to accept the referee’s decision.

“We need to concentrate on other areas of the game; at times we can be a bit tentative and there’s a bit more directness needed. It’s important we maximise the opportunities we get and attacking comes naturally to players from a young age.”

Dunfermline travel to Dundee to face Harris Academy on Saturday and kick off is at 3pm.