Dundee boss James McPake admits their 6-2 derby defeat to city rivals Dundee United is a “hammer blow” to everyone connected with the club.
The Dark Blues manager blasted his side’s defensive display, particularly from set-plays, as they fell to the Tangerines at Tannadice on Friday night.
And he hopes his players and staff are hurting as much as their supporters will be going into work this morning.
The 35-year-old said: “I’m disappointed. It’s a hammer blow, certainly to the fans, but to the players, my staff and I as well.
“It was a difficult night and it’s one we’re going to need to show a lot of character to come back from.
“We couldn’t defend our box and maybe we should’ve been in front but United got back in the game.
“They were finding ways to put the ball into our box and we just couldn’t deal with it, which is surprising.
“It was the first goal we’ve conceded from a set-piece on Friday night, and it was three or four, which is disastrous at any time but especially in a derby.
“We went down there and were asking people to put themselves on the line and go and header the ball but we couldn’t do that.
“I’ve been involved in one down here before (the 6-2 defeat to United on New Year’s Day 2015) and it still hurts me and I question if it will still hurt my players in four or five years time. I hope the answer’s yes.
“We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.”
The Terrors’ convincing win has now opened up a seven-point gap for Dundee to close at the top of the Championship.
However, Dee manager James insists there is still a long way to go and nothing has been decided yet.
He added: “My concern is not the gap, my concern is my defenders and the team couldn’t clear from the box.
“I’m going over it, and it’s not an excuse but as, I said before the game, nothing was decided on Friday night.
“However, if we keep defending like that, the seven-point gap will be more before we know it.
“We need to get back to it and it’s raw and sore, as it is for all our fans and I hope it is for my players but we need to get back to basics now. We need to chip away at the gap because we want to get promoted, of course we do, but it’s not my main concern at the minute.”