23rd May 2012
AIRDRIE captain Paul Lovering says the club's fifth play-off defeat in six years has hit him the hardest.
The veteran full-back suffered post-season agony in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Lovering hoped the Diamonds would see off Dumbarton at New Broomfield on Sunday and win promotion to the Irn-Bru First Division.
But a 6-2 aggregate victory for the Sons saw them move up and leave Airdrie looking at another SFL2 campaign.
He said: "Dumbarton thoroughly deserved to win the game. We were second-best to everything and they dominated from start to finish.
"We didn't turn up. I don't know why. It was a big occasion but not any bigger than the games against Ayr United.
"We were playing against a team from our own league who we knew well so I don't know why we lacked confidence. I don't understand how this has happened.
"This is the worst feeling ever for me. This is the worst of the five play-off defeats I've had here.
"In the other games we were close and gave ourselves a chance but we didn't do that against Dumbarton.
"To go out with a performance like that is gutting."
Lovering believes that it is not all doom and gloom at the club.
He points to the success of Airdrie's Youth Pathway scheme as a reason for optimism.
"We have young guys coming through," the defender added. "The youth system is producing players and in the cold light of day we will see the positives.
"But it is hard to take just now. We're all feeling angry and hurt. We went out with a whimper."
Lovering, who has been granted a testimonial match against an Airdrieonians XI in July, will consider his options before deciding whether or not to play on.
The 36-year-old commented: "I don't know [if I'll be back]. It's something I will need to have a think about. We'll see where I am in pre-season."