'They were better than us with 10 v 10' - Caledonian Braves boss Ricky Waddell gutted to lose South of Scotland Challenge Cup final
Armstrong, 20, was dismissed with the Motherwell team 1-0 up over Dalbeattie Star – thanks to Jamie Watson’s headed goal from a corner - after half an hour of Saturday’s South of Scotland Challenge Cup showpiece at Annan.
Braves then went 2-1 down early in the second half to goals by Russell Currie and Dan Orsi before Marc Kelly slotted home for Waddell’s side on the hour to make it 2-2.
Although Star were also then reduced to 10 men for a second booking, the Dumfries and Galloway team won the cup with a bullet header by Liam Douglas on 82 minutes which made it 3-2.
“We didn’t play well enough in the game,” Waddell told GlasgowWorld Sport.
“They scored twice in the second half after our own silly decisions. We got it back to 2-2 and they got a man sent off but to be honest with you they had a bit more ambition.
"They were a bit better than us with 10 v 10 which I was disappointed with because we’ve not been like that since the start of January.
"Rhys has been a talisman for us this year, he’s been fantastic. He has a bit to go in terms of it’s his first year in senior football and he’s still young.
"He did a silly thing and it was a red card. He lifted his arms and when you do that and make contact – even just a little bit – then you’re going to get a red card and it rattled us.
"The ball had gone out of play, their player shoved Rhys a bit and Rhys pushed out into his face. You can’t do that, you need to learn.
"Rhys is devastated. He had a back injury for a while and had just come back.
"He was annoyed at himself and he was pretty quiet afterwards.
"Normally when people try and wind him up he just laughs. He doesn’t get involved in it at all.
"But for whatever reason he got riled up on Saturday.”
Waddell had been looking to win his fifth trophy in charge of Braves.
"I was gutted for the guys,” he added. “It would have been great for our young team to win something.
"Ultimately I’m really proud of the guys. This time last year we didn’t have any players.
"I brought in a lot of young guys that I knew. Hopefully in years to come we’ll look back and say: ‘We didn’t win that final but we went on to win things because we kept building’.
"We need to use the defeat to add fuel to the fire to bounce back.”
With their season now finished, Braves players have a break until returning to training in mid June.