"We are down to the bare bones with all the problems we have been facing but I can't fault the commitment of my players," said Bruce.
"On another day I thought we might have got something out of the game, but our endeavour, work rate and application were first rate."
Bruce was pleased with the performance of 18-year-old Darren Carter, after throwing him in for his debut due to injuries to other midfielder players.
"I thought he was magnificent," added Bruce.
"I would not normally have played him but he turned in a terrific performance.
"It's still early days for me - I'm only six weeks into my reign and there are still a lot of players I haven't seen yet.
When we get them all back we will be in with a chance."