JOHN Kear paid tribute to Cougars and their coach Craig Lingard after they pushed Bulls all the way in the Challenge Cup.

Keighley came close to a giant-killing before losing 14-12 at Cougar Park in the fourth round.

And while Kear was furious with his own side, the Bulls chief acknowledged a superb effort from their neighbours.

He said: “It was a tremendous cup tie. You have got to applaud Keighley, they were magnificent. They worked so hard, they defended really well. Credit to them and to Craig Lingard.

"Craig is a good coach. I knew he would do well. He has had two tough years at Keighley, but there are lots of positives from Sunday for him. I think he will blossom now.”

Lingard, who was Kear's assistant at Batley, said his Cougars side did the club proud despite being knocked out.

He said: “We were not going to win the cup. Being knocked out will mean we will have a couple of free weekends and the players can rest up and spend a bit of time with each other.”

He added the club will have been boosted by a healthy crowd number - though the official gate of 1,881 was perhaps not as high as hoped for - pumping money into their coffers as they look to rebuild following a pre-season takeover and a 12-point deduction.

Kear was critical of his Bulls side, saying: “Our attitude stank.

“We expected Keighley to roll over and accept defeat. It was a really tough 80 minutes.

“We had three objectives going into this game; number one was to win; objective two was to win well as a team, and we didn’t, and number three was to play well as individuals.

“They have made it pretty easy for me to pick my team for the Dewsbury game (on Sunday). But if we play like that, we will lose to Dewsbury."