The Lichties recovered well from the previous week’s 3-0 disappointment in Inverness to hold on to second place in the table with a 1-0 victory at Gayfield.
The hosts had to tame a fierce wind in the first half but made the breakthrough just five minutes into the second period, with a headed goal by Jack Hamilton from Michael McKenna’s corner kick.
Ayr’s task was made harder when Sam Ashford was ordered off with 12 minutes remaining for a late tackle on Jason Thomson.
Campbell, presiding in place of suspended twin brother Dick, said the display was very heartening and felt like the team had gained more than three points.
"I was very happy with the overall performance because I felt we were getting closer to where we were, with the way we played and the way we controlled the game,” he said.
“In the first half, the wind was hard but I thought our players were very good organisationally with everything and we had a couple of half-chances on the breakaway.
"In the second half, I thought we were well on top from start to finish.”
He added: “I saw it in training, so I was not surprised. Ayr are a good team. It’s never easy but I thought Arbroath deserved to win the game.”
Campbell said the idea at half-time was to “get back on the trust journey”, having performed reasonably well with the wind against them, and move things up a level.
“If we were 80 per cent in the first half, we were 120 per cent in the second half,” he added. “I thought we upped the pace a bit and kept our shape, moved the ball quickly and really pressed hard.”
This Saturday, Arbroath are at home to Raith Rovers, whose play-off challenge faltered with a late 3-2 loss to Inverness Caley Thistle, with two players and boss John McGlynn red-carded.
Campbell said Arbroath hope to continue getting back to where they were.
“Raith are a good side if you let them play and we have enormous respect for them,” he added.
“Anybody that comes to Arbroath has to be up for their work and it will be a tremendously difficult game, but we look forward to the challenge.”