As tough as it was to take, Dundee United full-back Callum Booth believes last Friday’s 5-0 home defeat at the hands of Ayr was the wake-up call they needed at this stage of the season.
Defender Booth admits it was a shock to the system for the Tangerines losing so heavily to the Championship leaders at Tannadice last week but insists the result is behind them as they aim to regain momentum built under new boss Robbie Neilson.
The Terrors were unbeaten in six until the loss to The Honest Men and the 27-year-old feels they have got what it takes to go on a similar run – starting at Morton today.
“We’d been doing brilliantly since the new manager came in and I don’t think anyone saw that scoreline coming at all,” the former Hibs and Partick Thistle left-back said.
“It was a shock and maybe a bit of a wake-up call. We can’t take our foot off the gas and it was disappointing.
“Look, I’m sure all the boys have experienced heavy defeats before and it’s not nice but, as the manager’s been saying, it’s about how you react.
“The manager’s been brilliant at saying ‘look that’s us drawn a line under it’ and all our focus has been on getting back to winning ways and trying to get some positivity about the place and smiles on the boys faces again.
“If we can go and win three or four games in a row then, hopefully, that result will be forgotten about.”
And Booth feels the timing of their blip is a positive because there is plenty of time left this season to rectify it.
Following the game in Greenock today, United face Inverness in the Highlands as they aim to close the six-point gap on Ayr.
And Booth insists that is the intention, saying he does not want to go through the turmoil of play-off disappointment again after last term’s relegation with Partick.
He added: “They’re hugely important, absolutely massive games, especially with the gap at six points just now, they’re vital games.
“We’ve two tough away games in Morton and Inverness coming up but we’ve been playing quite well away from home this season so, hopefully, that can continue and we can keep picking up results and close the gap over the festive period.
“No one would really want play-offs but we’ll see what happens. Ayr have, obviously, been flying and they’re doing really well and County are up there as well but we’ve managed to narrow the gap to kind of make it a three-horse race.
“We just need to get back on the same kind of run we were on before last Friday night, we’d been playing really well and were getting all the praise.
“Hopefully, coming up to Christmas and New Year, we can put another run together and I’m confident we can.”
Looking ahead to the game at Cappielow today, Booth is well aware Morton will be hurting, too, and look to recover after last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Dunfermline.
“It will be a tough game. Their results have been up and down this season, they have some really good results and then, like last Saturday, not so good.
“They probably deserved to win the game up at Tannadice earlier in the season, I think we scored a 93rd-minute equaliser.
“It’s going to be a hard game but one we’ve prepared for well this week and go into it confident.
“We’re both going into it on the end of two shocking results last weekend so it’s going to be about who reacts best to that.
“Hopefully, with the squad we’ve got and how hard we’ve been working, then we’ll be the team that comes out on top.”