BRIAN RICE praised his much-changed side after a fantastic performance on Friday night sealed their place in the next round of the SPFL Trust Trophy.

The Alloa boss made nine changes to the starting line-up that defeated Montrose but there was no disruption to the momentum his side is building as they defeated Airdrie 1-0.

He said: “I thought it was a fantastic performance, I thought it was a really good game: two teams trying to win the match, plenty of chances, plenty good football.

"I am delighted the lads that haven’t been playing games, came on and got game time. [It was a] really good game and I’m absolutely delighted to win the game.”r

Despite missing numerous chances, Rice insisted there was no disappointments and praised his players who came into the team.

He continued: “There’s no disappointment. There [would be] disappointment if we got beat after the performance we put in.

"We’ve got Willie [Muir] back in goals, his first real game back since he had concussion and he’s been struggling so it’s great to get a clean sheet.

“[Paul] McLaren, [Steven] Buchanan, young Murray Miller – who I thought was outstanding – but it was a really good team performance against a really, really good team.

“We made changes, we’ve got a squad here. We’ve not got a team, we’ve got a squad and they all know that.

"I think you seen [on Friday night] everyone pulling in the one direction, a team playing with a bit of confidence and a team trying to win the game, same as Airdrie, they were the exact same.

“They were trying to win the game, we were trying to win the game. I enjoyed the spectacle; obviously, I enjoyed it even more that we won, but I thought the performance we put in was outstanding.”

The manager was delighted with his team’s efforts, especially considering a number of his changes were forced.

He said: “It's fantastic and four of them were enforced. [Jay] Hogarth’s away with the 21s, [Kieran] Offord’s away with the 19s, [David] Devine’s cup-tied and Cammy O’Donnell picked up an injury.

“These lads, a lot of them have played league games for us but they need competitive action. [The game] was a really good test for them, I knew it would be a good test for them but the responded really, really well and I’m absolutely delighted with every one of them.”

One player who dropped to the bench was Conor Sammon but he arrived midway through the second half to score the winner and continue his excellent run of form.

Rice said: “You put the ball in the box and he’s got a chance of scoring. I said on Saturday [after the victory over Montrose] we’re a big team.

“It was a set-play again which I’m delighted with because we work at it.

"We’ve put the ball in the box and we’ve reacted to the second ball. Delighted for the big man, he’s come off the bench and got the winner.”