Paul McGowan says Saturday’s game will be the biggest test of character Dundee have faced in his time at Dens after a horror show at Palmerston on Tuesday.
The Dark Blues were sent crashing out of the Scottish Cup by Queen of the South and hat-trick scorer Stephen Dobbie in midweek after being given a helping hand by the visiting defence.
The disastrous performance came on the back of an impressive victory at Hearts last week and another decent showing in the weekend defeat to Motherwell.
The positivity built up in those two league games was quickly wiped out at Palmerston and, for McGowan, that’s tough to take.
Especially with possibly the biggest game of the season on the horizon against fellow-relegation battlers Hamilton on Saturday.
He said: “This is a big test of character to see what team turns up on Saturday because we just can’t keep doing that.
“I’ve been saying that since I came here – we go good performance, good performance and then boom, a result like that.
“It’s not good enough.
“Tuesday was a sore one and we’ll see who the characters are in the team come Saturday.
“It’s only going to get harder, it won’t get any easier.
“We’d been good going into the game and then we start the game well, moving the ball about and had a couple of chances from set-plays but goals change games.
“I think it was their first attack – that’s criminal.
“The manager said about Dobbie, you can’t give him five yards, then he gets the ball, turns and scores. There’s only so much you can say and do.”
He added: “If we thought Queens on Tuesday was hard, this will be an even bigger battle.
“They are fighting for their lives just like us and, because we had our tails up there, I hope the Queens result hasn’t damaged us too much.
“There’s got to be a response with the position we are in, if there isn’t then we shouldn’t be playing. It’s that simple.”
After Dobbie was allowed time to pick his spot for the opening goal, goals two and three were gifts from the Dark Blues defence as the country’s top marksman latched on to short backpasses, first from Ryan Inniss and then from his centre-back partner Gensy Kusunga.
McGowan said: “It’s not good enough – the goals we conceded were embarrassing.
“You can’t win football games if you are going to gift goals like that, that’s the bottom line.
“I felt we started well but then the goal came.
“Big Ryan, who has been doing brilliantly, has a crazy moment and gets caught and we couldn’t get back from that. Queen of the South deserved it, we deserved nothing.
“The goal took the stuffing out of us. It shouldn’t, especially after two good performances at Hearts and at home to Motherwell but another moment changed the game for us.
“We need to stop this.
“We are not going to win games – the position we are in, we can’t afford to keep doing this.
“We are a team, we make mistakes together and we’re in it together but individual errors are costing us just now.”
Accies aren’t in too much of a better place than Dundee, however, after parting company with manager Martin Canning this week. McGowan, though, says that’ll have no bearing on Saturday’s game.
“I think you’ll still get the same Hamilton, whether Martin Canning is there or not.
“They’ll still fight for their lives and they can play a bit as well. I don’t think the manager situation will matter, they are honest boys who will play and fight no matter what.”