COACH Ian Millward was proud of depleted Castleford's performance in Monday's 18-12 home defeat against St Helens.
The injury-hit Tigers pushed Saints all the way in an enthralling contest.
Millward (pictured) said: "It was very, very close. I'm very proud of the players and their attitude.
"Their defence was quite outstanding today, but unfortunately we came up with a couple of errors and they picked the ball up from two of them and scored points from it.
"I don't think that was a reflection on how tough we played. We probably lacked a bit of a cutting edge down on the try line because of some of the key players we had out.
"When you take out your four key attacking players - your full-back (Richard) Owen, your two halves (Danny) Orr and Rangi Chase, and then Daryl Clark - it does have an effect. But I can't question anything about the players' performance, their attitude or their desire to win.
"It was very close to being a drawn-up game."
Castleford's performance rounded off an encouraging Bank Holiday weekend following their derby victory over Wakefield Wildcats on Friday.
"The weekend's been pretty good for us," Millward said.
"We had a great win against Wakefield and on top of that a very good performance here, and also the players who got an opportunity today have done themselves really proud."