ANDY Graham believes Nathan Gilhooley and Cammy O’Donnell can now push on after the young Wasps made their debuts for the club.

The teenagers became the first from Alloa’s new look academy to play a competitive game for the Wee County outfit in Saturday’s defeat to Inverness Caley Thistle.

Gilhooley, 18, was handed a start by gaffer Peter Grant in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup tie while 17-year-old O’Donnell appeared off the bench.

The pair - along with Paul Gillespie - have been frequent fixtures on Alloa’s bench this season after impressing for Derek Nicholson’s academy side.

“It is important that when the young boys come into the side they are ready to play,” Graham, 36, told Advertiser Sport. “To be fair to Nathan I have said to him that he was up against one of the best players in the league in Andy Dorran.

“It was a Hell of a way to make his debut and I know he made a mistake but he held his hands up and I like that.

“Mistakes are part of the game and I know I have made them throughout my career and I said that to him.

“Look at Scott Taggart. He made a similar mistake later and got away with it and that just shows you that you can be unlucky.

“It is about how you respond and he did really well throughout the game and was always looking for the ball.

“Young Cammy has been training with us the longest but I think he has come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks.

“He actually should have had two assists as I missed those headers and I said that to him in the bus after the game.

“But, for those young boys it’s about now not resting on your laurels and thinking they have made it.”

The Wasps’ quest for Challenge Cup glory came to a stuttering end in the Highlands as goals from Mitchell Curry, Charlie Trafford, and Matheus Machado put paid to their hopes.

But, Graham admits that the league remains the priority for Alloa even if defeat feels as painful for the veteran as ever.

He said: “We had a depleted squad and not a lot of numbers but it did work well for the first half an hour or so.

“We played well without really testing their goalkeeper.

“Inverness are a good side and it is always going to be difficult against them even with a full squad.

“The way we are playing right now, if we score and get the first goal then we fancy ourselves and we know we will hurt teams.

“Alan Trouten was beating himself up with the one where he hit the post.

“They deserved to go through but hopefully we can get some boys back for Saturday and get a better result.

“The league is the priority and I would have taken points in that over a win at the weekend but we want to win every game we play.”