Paul Watson admits Dundee United’s defeat at Alloa was “a tough lesson” but vowed there would be a reaction when the Tangerines head to Queen of the South.
The Tannadice side have time to ruminate over the surprise 1-0 defeat at the Indodrill Stadium with an international break ahead of the trip to Palmerston a week on Saturday.
And despite real disappointment over the performance in Clackmannanshire, Watson reckons a win over Queens would make it a very decent first quarter of the Championship season.
He told the Tele: “Friday was disappointing. If we want to win this league then we have to go to places like Alloa and take the three points.
“It was a tough lesson but one we are looking to put right over the next couple of weeks for the game at Palmerston.
“That will a be tough venue next Saturday, again a plastic pitch, and, again, we’ll have to roll our sleeves up and battle – we’ll definitely get a reaction, that’s for sure.
“We have to keep the defeat on Friday in a bit of context, six wins out of eight games is OK so if we can make it seven out of nine in the first quarter that’s not a disaster and we look to go again in the next quarter.”
Ayr United’s failure to win on Saturday keeps the Tangerines in top spot on goal difference but the gap behind them has tightened.
It was third-placed Inverness who got the better of the Honest Men and has brought Caley Thistle to within two points of the top two, while Dundee cut their deficit to six points.
Watson added: “We are still top of the league but we missed an opportunity, after the results at the weekend, to extend a lead at the top.
“We knew Alloa were a good side and they started the game well, knocking the ball about.
“They were bottom of the league but I don’t think they are a bottom-of-the-league team.
“We knew all about them and the preparation was done for us so we have no excuses, we just didn’t show up.
“We didn’t get close enough, didn’t win 50-50s, didn’t tackle and were second best.”
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That inability to put enough pressure on the home side saw manager Robbie Neilson get increasingly irate on the touchline, bellowing for his players to get closer to the opposition.
And Robbie didn’t hold back in the dressing-room afterwards before heading to the Press room and criticising the lack of fight from his team.
“That is hard to hear because that should be a given,” said Watson.
“Everyone should be rolling their sleeves up, battling and working hard – these are simple things that you don’t need talent for and should be a given.
“It’s frustrating for us on that count.
“It is a tough league and at venues like Alloa, you need to just roll your sleeves up at times and dig out the three points, forget about the performance.
“The three points are always the most important thing and we couldn’t get them on Friday.”
The defender added: “Unfortunately, there’s no game this weekend but we will be training hard over the next fortnight.
“We can’t have any excuses for Friday night – we simply weren’t good enough.
“The manager had a go at us after the game and we deserved it.
“We deserve all the flak that will come our way so we’re just looking forward to Queens now and trying to put it right.”