Ross McCormack's second-half goal was the difference between the two teams, but O'Driscoll saw enough of his new charges to give him hope that rock-bottom City can avoid the drop.
And O'Driscoll made a point of keeping his side on the pitch at the end of the match to congratulate them on a battling performance.
"I've had three days with them and I thought they deserved a 'well done'," he said.
"You don't get many chances to say that when you are still bottom of the league.
"We wanted them to be well organised, hard to beat and bright in the opposition's half, which they were. I was pleased with their application but disappointed with the result.
"They are an honest bunch and I will just give them some direction.
"Optimism in football is a dangerous emotion. You have to be realistic and we are in a dangerous position, but if we can maintain the level we set today and add a couple of players there is no reason why we can't give ourselves a chance of retaining Championship status."