A LOT has changed since Alloa Athletic last kicked a ball in anger at the Recs 171 days - or four Falklands Wars - ago. 

Nothing was going to dampen spirits in Clacks last night when the Wasps finally returned to action and life inched ever so slightly back to normality. 

This was never about the scoreline and a narrow 3-2 defeat to Kilmarnock felt like a victory in the way that anyone not connected to a club like Alloa - the soul of a town and a place for belonging - could explain.

It was always about getting back out onto the pitch, facing off against a historically superior foe, and the Wasps going toe-to-toe, leaving the field at the end of the 90 disappointed they'd been defeated. 

READ MORE: Ray Grant on the father-son dynamic with Celtic legend Peter at Alloa Athletic

Goals from Adam Brown and Alan Trouten weren't enough to stop Alloa going down to a strong Alex Dyer team - boasting several players who had been narrowly beaten away to Aberdeen on Saturday - in their first match since March 7. 

A lot has changed since those halcyon days of 2-0 wins over Inverness Caley Thistle and young Wasps in full flight; a time when Barnard Castle was a mystery to those in Clacks and the most pressing concern was a less infamous trip to Partick Thistle on the horizon. 

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Alan Trouten was back to doing what he does best Alan Trouten was back to doing what he does best

In that context, any football would have done for Peter Grant, a man whose life has revolved around kicking a ball across a field. That he was able to sing the praises of his men afterwards and look back with regret at the loss says it all about where he wants to take this team. 

"It was a right ding-dong match," Grant told Advertiser Sport. "It was a right strong side from them.

"Bear in mind they have been back six weeks, but you would have never have known that. I was delighted with the way they played and the levels the boys showed. I was chuffed.

"The new boys [including Ray Grant] got their 90 minutes and it was great for them. They did really well.

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"The way we play is a wee bit different and the game never rests for us. We settled in seamlessly.

"Everyone came out with credit and they know what the standard is." 

Alloa next face League One Stranraer in a closed door friendly on Tuesday evening at The Recs.